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Murphy Crowe Tries Not Enough As Ireland Set For England Play-Off

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe scored Ireland's first half try in their second pool game against Australia ©Mike Lee/KLC Fotos/World Rugby

The Ireland Women’s Sevens team will face England in Saturday’s 9th-10th place play-off at the second leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai after disappointing defeats to Australia (38-5) and Fiji (28-12).

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe brought her prolific Irish World Series try-scoring record to 90 tries on the second day of the Dubai Sevens, scoring in both Pool B games to add to her effort against Spain on Thursday, but Ireland were unable to find a way past their Southern Hemisphere opponents.

It was a try apiece early on against Australia, Emma Tonegato’s well-worked second-minute opener quickly cancelled out by another top class finish from Murphy Crowe. Her stutter step took her around Tonegato, close to the Irish 22, and she turned on the gas to break clear of Sharni Williams and score near the left corner.

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It was Williams’ conversion which split the sides at 7-5, but there were encouraging signs approaching half-time as Ireland’s defence tightened up and Hannah Tyrrell won a penalty at the breakdown. But a knock-on from Emily Lane spoiled a promising opportunity from an advanced lineout.

With Evania Pelite’s tackle on Eve Higgins without the ball going unpunished, Australia were able to build some late momentum and Williams put Tonegato over to make it a seven-point difference. Unfortunately, Ireland’s error count increased in the second half and the Australians took full advantage.

Williams’ clever footwork took her past Louise Galvin and Higgins for try number three, before Pelite isolated Higgins to win a penalty on the ground and set up teenager Madison Ashby to go in under the posts. Suddenly, with ten minutes on the clock, the deficit was out to 26-5.

Lane did really well to hold up Cassandra Staples past the try-line, but Australia’s dominance of possession and territory led to two more tries. Replacements Georgia Hannaway and Faith Nathan were afforded far too much space as they struck from close and long range respectively.

In the pool finale against Fiji, little over a minute had elapsed when Murphy Crowe used a quick tap to speed over in the left corner for the opening try. A well-positioned Kathy Baker had gotten over a ruck ball to win the initial decision – and the co-captain did the rest.

Tokasa Seniyasi led Fiji’s response in quick-fire fashion, drawing in Higgins and Murphy Crowe to release Ana Maria Naimasi on the left wing and she had the gas to arc away from the chasing Baker with Seniyasi’s conversion making it 7-5.

Dashing through the centre of Fiji’s defence, Baker was unable to connect with a support runner, and the clinical edge that Ireland were missing was shown by Fiji just before half-time. Galvin went off her feet to leak a penalty and Raijieli Daveua handed off Baker to charge clear and score from her own half.

A bloodied Tyrrell was bundled into touch, as Fiji’s physicality helped them to hold onto their 14-5 advantage, but playmaker Higgins hit back with a terrific try-scoring burst from a scrum near halfway, gliding through in the ninth minute to reduce the arrears to just two points.

Galvin showed huge commitment to track back and get an ankle tap in on Mereseini Leivere which led to her knocking the ball on in the act of scoring. Ireland’s defence was gradually worn down, though, as Fiji’s offloads began to stick again and converted tries from Asinate Savu and Naimasi settled the issue.

This weekend’s World Sevens Series action, which concludes for the Ireland Women against England at 9.22am local time/5.22am Irish time, is being shown live on Sky Sports Arena, with streaming in some countries via the World Rugby website.

You can keep up with Ireland’s progress in Dubai using the hashtag #IreW7s and on the Irish Rugby social media channels throughout the week. The 2020 Ireland Sevens jersey is now available to buy online from Elverys Intersport, official sports retailer of the IRFU.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SQUAD (2019/20 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Dubai 7s, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, Thursday, December 5-Saturday, December 7):

Kathy Baker (Blackrock/Leinster)
Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
Megan Burns (Tullamore/Leinster)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster) (co-capt)
Anna Doyle (DCU/Leinster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster) (co-capt)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar/Railway Union/Leinster)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)
Brittany Hogan (DCU/Ulster)
Emily Lane (Mallow/Munster)
Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Old Belvedere/Munster)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)


Pool B:

Thursday, December 5:

Spain 12 Ireland 10, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Kathy Baker

Last-Gasp Try Denies Ireland Women Opening Win In Dubai

Team: Katie Fitzhenry (co-capt), Kathy Baker, Louise Galvin, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (co-capt).

Subs used: Brittany Hogan, Megan Burns. Not used: Katie Heffernan, Claire Boles, Anna Doyle.

Friday, December 6:

Australia 38 Ireland 5, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe
HT: Australia 12 Ireland 5

Team: Katie Fitzhenry (co-capt), Kathy Baker, Louise Galvin, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (co-capt).

Subs used: Megan Burns, Brittany Hogan, Claire Boles. Not used: Katie Heffernan, Anna Doyle.

Ireland 12 Fiji 28, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins; Con: Eve Higgins
HT: Ireland 5 Fiji 14

Team: Katie Fitzhenry (co-capt), Kathy Baker, Louise Galvin, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (co-capt).

Subs used: Brittany Hogan, Megan Burns, Katie Heffernan, Claire Boles, Anna Doyle.

Saturday, December 7:

9th-10th Place Play-Off: England v Ireland, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, 9.22am local time/5.22am Irish time

Dubai 7s Results/Fixtures/Pool Tables