Ireland Women’s Sevens coach Stan McDowell has named a 13-strong squad ahead of this weekend’s Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series opener in Marcoussis, France.
Lucy Mulhall returns from a hamstring injury to captain the team in the first round of the European Series, which serves as the seeding tournament for the Rugby Europe Olympic Women’s Sevens qualifier that take places in Kazan, Russia on July 13-14.
The top nine eligible teams will advance to Kazan as Europe’s elite sides battle it out to join hosts Japan and the other qualifiers so far – HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series champions New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Australia and Brazil – in Tokyo next year.
Ireland, who have won bronze, silver and bronze the last three years in the European Series, will play Spain, Italy and Scotland on day one in Marcoussis. At the final World Series leg in Biarritz two weeks ago the girls in green lost to both Spain (12-10) and Scotland (26-14), so they are undoubtedly eager to avenge those results.
Ace finisher Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe will be looking to transfer her World Series form onto the European stage. The Tipperary native made history a fortnight ago as she became the first northern Hemisphere player to finish as the World Series’ top try scorer (35 tries). She was also selected as a member of the season’s overall HSBC Dream Team.
Speaking ahead of the weekend’s action, McDowell said:
It’s set to be a very competitive tournament in Marcoussis, with all the teams involved aware of the Olympic qualification seedings ahead of Kazan. The squad have been aware of the significance of this tournament for some time and I’m sure they have real focus on delivering a good performance this weekend.”
Live streaming will be available on www.rugbyeurope.tv. The Marcoussis 7s is the first of two tournaments that make up this season’s Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series. The second leg takes place in Kharkiv, Ukraine on July 20-21 – the weekend after the European Olympic qualifier.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2019 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series – Round 1, Centre National de Rugby, Marcoussis, Saturday, June 29-Sunday, June 30):
Kathy Baker (Blackrock/Leinster)
Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
Megan Burns (Tullamore/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)
Brittany Hogan (Railway Union/Ulster)
Emily Lane (Mallow/Munster)
Anna McGann (UCD/Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum) (capt)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Old Belvedere/Munster)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Fixtures – Marcoussis 7s:
Saturday, June 29 –
Ireland v Spain, Centre National de Rugby, 11.14am local time/10.14am Irish time
Ireland v Italy, Centre National de Rugby, 4.41pm local time/3.41pm Irish time
Ireland v Scotland, Centre National de Rugby, 7.26pm local time/6.26pm Irish time
Sunday, June 30 –
Play-Offs & Finals
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS – European Schedule:
June 29-30: Marcoussis, France – Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series First Leg
July 13-14: Kazan, Russia – Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Olympic Qualifying Tournament
July 20-21: Kharkiv, Ukraine – Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series Second Leg