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Murphy Crowe Reaches 100-Try Mark In World Series

Murphy Crowe Reaches 100-Try Mark In World Series

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe is pictured on her way to the try-line against Canada in Dubai ©Mike Lee/World Rugby

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe became the first Ireland Sevens player to chalk up 100 tries in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, on the opening day of the Dubai Sevens tournament.

Murphy Crowe’s early effort in the Ireland Women’s second round clash with Great Britain saw her hit the century mark. She is only the ninth female player to achieve the feat in World Series history.

The 26-year-old has a superb strike-rate of 101 tries in 134 matches. She finished the first day at The Sevens Stadium as the joint-top try scorer with three.

Ireland gave World Series debuts to the 18-year-old Erin King, Aoibheann Reilly (20) and Kate Farrell McCabe (21), with the youngsters making their presence felt during the behind-closed-doors season opener.

A disappointing 28-12 defeat to Fiji, the Olympic bronze medallists, was followed by two closely-fought games which failed to go Ireland’s way – a 26-15 loss to Great Britain and a 21-17 reversal at the hands of Canada.

Captain Lucy Mulhall and her team-mates have a final Pool B game against Russia tomorrow (kick-off 5.44am local time/0.44am Irish time).

In Dubai this weekend, the ten teams are divided into two pools of five, with each side playing each other in the pool.

The pool placings will decide the classification matches, with no quarter or semi-finals, meaning the teams that top their respective pools will contest the gold medal final.

Knock-ons thwarted both Ireland and Fiji early on, but Reapi Ulunisau’s breakaway try got her side on the right track. Ana Maria Naimasi soon added a second one, making it 14-0 for half-time.

The girls in green failed to profit from an Eve Higgins break, but with Fiji giving away penalties on the restart, Murphy Crowe stepped inside one defender and away from another to run in a converted try.

Sesenieli Donu cantered clear from a deft offload for Fiji’s third seven-pointer, and replacement Laisana Likuceva settled the issue a few minutes later with a nice dummy and run to the posts.

Higgins kept running hard at the Fijian defence, and Ireland’s persistence was rewarded when Mulhall scampered into space off a scrum, was tackled right on the line and replacement Boles got her hands on the ball for the grounding.

King, who only turned 18 last month, scrambled well to win possession from the kick-off against Britain. Nice hands from Katie Heffernan and Flood played in Murphy Crowe to score in the left corner, past Jasmine Joyce.

The Tipperary native’s 100th World Series try went unconverted, and Joyce denied her a second score, midway through the first half, after a free-flowing move that included King and Megan Burns.

Instead, the GB team fought back to lead 14-5 at the interval, Emma Uren running in a classy solo score and Megan Jones gobbling up her own kick through to crash over just past the hooter.

Jones completed her brace in the ninth minute, but Higgins provided a thrilling response for Ireland, an 80-metre run-in as she scored despite Abbie Brown’s last-ditch tackle.

With Ireland playing with a penalty advantage, they worked the ball wide to the right where Higgins and replacement Boles combined for a third unconverted try, the Enniskillen native closing the gap to 19-15.

Crucially, the restart was claimed by Britain and some good build-up play freed up Brown, their co-captain to stride clear and score right at the death.

In the night session, Canada provided the opposition for the girls in green. Mulhall’s turnover penalty provided the spark and Flood passed wide for Parsons to score her second World Series try from close range.

After Mulhall missed the conversion from the right, Flood had to scramble back in defence, denying Olivia de Couvreur a try with King helping to win a clearing penalty.

However, the ball went loose when Flood tried to link with Kathy Baker and it was Pam Buisa who reacted quickest, scoring under the Irish posts. Breanne Nicholas kicked Canada ahead.

Renee Gonzalez then made it 14-5 at the break, collecting a kick through from Nicholas to raid in behind the posts.

Ireland responded well to Anthony Eddy’s team talk, the newly-introduced Higgins gathering the restart and getting on the outside of two players to dart clear up the left touchline and score a fine try.

Elissa Alarie came off the Canadian bench to finish off some excellent approach work two minutes later, putting 11 points between the sides.

A more favourable bounce might have seen Mulhall score from her own chip kick. Ireland did have the final say, scoring past the 14-minute mark when the skipper got a lovely offload away for Murphy Crowe to touch down.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Dubai Sevens, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, November 2021):

Kathy Baker (Blackrock College RFC)
Claire Boles (Railway Union RFC)
Brittany Hogan (Ballynahinch RFC/Old Belvedere RFC)
Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar RFC/Railway Union RFC)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum RFC) (capt)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC)
Megan Burns (Blackrock College RFC)

HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES – DUBAI SEVENS RESULTS/FIXTURES:

Friday, November 26 –

POOL B:

FIJI 28 IRELAND 12, The Sevens Stadium Pitch 2, Dubai
Scorers: Fiji: Tries: Reapi Ulunisau, Ana Maria Naimasi, Sesenieli Donu, Laisana Likuceva; Cons: Rusila Nagasau 3, Ana Maria Naimasi
Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Lucy Mulhall; Con: Lucy Mulhall
HT: Fiji 14 Ireland 0

Team: Kathy Baker, Eve Higgins, Brittany Hogan, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Béibhinn Parsons.

Subs used: Katie Heffernan, Megan Burns, Claire Boles, Kate Farrell McCabe. Not used: Erin King.

GREAT BRITAIN 26 IRELAND 15, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Scorers: Great Britain: Tries: Emma Uren, Megan Jones 2, Abbie Brown; Cons: Megan Jones 3
Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Claire Boles
HT: Great Britain 14 Ireland 5

Team: Katie Heffernan, Eve Higgins, Erin King, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Megan Burns.

Subs used: Claire Boles, Aoibheann Reilly, Brittany Hogan, Béibhinn Parsons. Not used: Kate Farrell McCabe.

CANADA 21 IRELAND 17, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Scorers: Canada: Tries: Pam Buisa, Renee Gonzalez, Elissa Alarie; Cons: Breanne Nicholas 3
Ireland: Tries: Béibhinn Parsons, Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Con: Lucy Mulhall
HT: Canada 14 Ireland 5

Team: Kathy Baker, Brittany Hogan, Erin King, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall, Béibhinn Parsons.

Subs used: Aoibheann Reilly, Eve Higgins, Katie Heffernan, Kate Farrell McCabe. Not used: Claire Boles.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Dubai Sevens Results/Fixtures

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Dubai Sevens Pool Tables

Saturday, November 27 –

POOL B:

RUSSIA v IRELAND, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, 09.44am local time/5.44am Irish time