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Mulhall And Kennedy Earn Toulouse Dream Team Selection

Mulhall And Kennedy Earn Toulouse Dream Team Selection

Mulhall And Kennedy Earn Toulouse Dream Team Selection

Ireland captain Lucy Mulhall finished this season's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in fine style, taking her career haul to 533 points in 150 matches on the global stage ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

The individual awards and team honours keep coming for the Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens squads, sponsored by TritonLake, with two players making the Dream Teams for last weekend’s HSBC France Sevens.

The Ireland Women played in their third successive Cup semi-final in Toulouse, closing out a hugely encouraging World Series campaign with a best ever overall finish of fourth place.

At the heart of their brilliant recent performances has been captain Lucy Mulhall, who scored a hat-trick of tries in their Toulouse opener against England and finished the season as the DHL Performance Tracker runner-up and the series’ third top points scorer.

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Her driving runs, smart interplay and leadership saw her pick up plenty of public votes for the HSBC Dream Team in Toulouse, which features three players from New Zealand, the winners of the final leg. Stacey Flood was one of the nominees.

It is Mulhall’s third time to receive Dream Team recognition, having made the tournament’s best line-up in Sydney back in 2019 and Seville earlier this year.

Also excelling in Toulouse and getting the fans’ votes were Charlotte Caslick from series champions Australia, New Zealand’s Michaela Blyde, Sarah Hirini and Kelly Brazier, as well as Fijian stars Reapi Ulunisau and Alowesi Nakoci.

Mulhall’s team-mate Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe was honoured on Sunday as part of the overall series’ Dream Team for 2022 and received the Gilbert Top Try Scorer and HSBC Try of the Series awards. She also edged out Mulhall to be crowned the TritonLake Women’s Sevens Player of the Year.

The Ireland skipper, who led the girls in green to a historic silver medal in Seville and backed it up with bronze in Langford, spoke to the TritonLake Perform Podcast recently about her side’s goals for the rest of 2022 and beyond.

“The Rugby World Cup Sevens (in Cape Town in September), firstly we have to qualify which in itself is going to be tough,” explained the 28-year-old Wicklow native.

“We’ve also got Rugby Europe (tournaments), so it’s important to set ourselves up well for Rugby Europe next year for Olympic qualification.

“To end in a World Cup in Cape Town, given the season that we’ve had it’s really exciting facing into a World Cup knowing that we go there and that we can win, and that’s massive.

“I know we still have to qualify in July, but please God we qualify and then we have a good run-in – we have five or six weeks of training and getting ready for this one event. Whereas we haven’t had that all season during the World Series.

“You’re kind of just getting up to come back down to go again. So that’s going to be really exciting to actually just go really hard for one tournament and try to peak. It’s only once every four years so it’s massively exciting.”

Meanwhile, Terry Kennedy’s ultra-consistent form was acknowledged again with a HSBC Dream Team place as the Men’s World Series continued with Ireland breaking new ground at the Stade Ernest Wallon.

Kennedy was a leading light as the Ireland Men reached their maiden World Series Cup final and won their first ever medal as a core team. Their silver medal-winning run lifted them up to fourth in the overall standings.

The 25-year-old Dubliner is the World Series’ top try scorer with 39 tries, heading into this weekend’s penultimate leg in London. He touched down seven times in Toulouse and was the DHL Impact Player of the round.

Just last week Kennedy was crowned the AIB Corporate Banking Men’s Sevens Player of the Year at the Rugby Player Ireland Awards. It is the third time he was honoured by his peers, following award wins in 2019 and 2021.

The St. Mary’s College speedster, who has a canny knack of unlocking the best defences on the global stage, previously made the HSBC Dream Team last summer when Ireland achieved Olympic qualification in Monaco.

Four players who featured in the Toulouse final are part of the tournament’s Dream Team selection – Kennedy and the Fijian trio of Waisea Nacuqu, Josua Vakurunabili and Kaminieli Rasaku. The side is completed by Australia’s Corey Toole and Samoan duo Vaa Apelu Maliko and Uaina Sione.

It is the second Dream Team nod for an Irishman this season after Jordan Conroy was voted in for his try-scoring exploits in Singapore last month. Jack Kelly and Mark Roche were also among the nominees for the Toulouse leg.

Aaron O’Sullivan and Fergus Jemphrey have been brought into the Ireland squad by head coach James Topping for next weekend’s HSBC London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium. Tickets are available for both days here.