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Fast Start For Ireland Women In Dubai Heat

Fast Start For Ireland Women In Dubai Heat

Fast Start For Ireland Women In Dubai Heat

Kathy Baker is pictured in action during the Ireland Women's team's opening match of the Emirates Dubai 7s against Spain ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

The Ireland Women’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) kicked off the new HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season with back-to-back wins in Dubai.

In very humid conditions at the Emirates Dubai 7s, Eve Higgins’ try inside the opening seconds set the girls in green on their way to a 21-7 victory over Spain.

Béibhinn Parsons scored either side of half-time during Ireland’s 31-24 triumph over fast-finishing Japan. Higgins and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, who was nominated for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year award, have scored two tries each so far.

Aiden McNulty’s charges are currently top of Pool C on six points, heading into this afternoon’s final round. They take on Fiji at 4.13pm local time/12.13pm Irish time, with both the Fijians and Spain sitting close behind on four points.

Higgins gave Ireland the ideal start to their Dubai campaign, running in a converted score from just inside her own half. A counter ruck from Erin King forced a turnover to keep Spain pinned back.

From the resulting fourth-minute scrum, the ball was worked wide to the left where Higgins sucked in a couple of defenders and released Murphy Crowe to round in behind the posts.

Captain Lucy Mulhall’s second successful conversion made it 14-0 for half-time, with a late kick through from Spain dealt with by the covering Stacey Flood. Ireland were well connected in defence and making some well-timed tackles.

Murphy Crowe chased down Amalia Argudo to avoid an early second half concession, earning a turnover penalty to boot. Spain were also thwarted by a forward pass as they missed out on another try.

With two minutes remaining, Mulhall’s nicely-timed pass sent replacement Megan Burns slicing through from just outside the Irish 22, her lung-busting run taking her away from Bruna Elias and Maria Calvo and over the whitewash.

Mulhall’s extras were followed by a well-worked last-minute score from Spain, Elias getting her hands free to put Maria Garcia clear from the left wing and cut Ireland’s winning margin to 14 points.

Despite Japan threatening first through Ateca Yumi Bativakalolo, Ireland were again quick to score in their second game. Higgins and Emily Lane created the opportunity for Murphy Crowe to race clear from halfway in the second minute.

Wakaba Hara replied for the Brave Blossoms, showing her pace out wide, but McNulty’s side finished the first half with a two-try burst to establish a 19-5 lead.

Murphy Crowe and Lane combined to win turnover ball in the Japanese 22, with Higgins picking from a subsequent ruck and fending off Marin Kajiki twice to score. Mulhall converted from close range.

It was the Ireland skipper’s counter ruck which set up King for a poach, Ireland working Japan from side to side before Lane passed out of a tackle for Parsons to dart over out wide on the left.

Making it two tries in quick succession early in the second period, the Ballinasloe flyer profited from King’s gobbling up of the restart and an inviting Flood pass. The gap was now out to 19 points.

Japan lifted the tempo in response, a quick tap seeing Chiharu Nakamura stretch out to score. Mulhall cancelled that one out in the 11th minute, displaying her footballing skills to dot down from her own chip and chase.

However, Mulhall and her team-mates will not have been pleased to leak two late tries as Japan regained their restarts. Sayo Yasui marked her debut with a breakaway effort, and she was followed over the line by fellow replacement Hana Nagata.

You can watch all the action as the Ireland Women compete at the Sevens Stadium, via the World Rugby Sevens Match Centre here.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Emirates Dubai 7s, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, December 2-3, 2022):

Kathy Baker (Blackrock College RFC)
Megan Burns (Blackrock College RFC)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC)
Katie Heffernan (Railway Union RFC)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC)
Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC)
Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC)
Vicky Elmes Kinlan (Wicklow RFC)
Emily Lane (Blackrock College RFC)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Lucy Mulhall (Wicklow RFC) (capt)
Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC)

IRELAND SEVENS Schedule – Emirates Dubai 7s:

Friday, December 2 –


IRELAND 21 SPAIN 7, The Sevens Stadium Pitch 2
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Megan Burns; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 3
Spain: Try: Maria Garcia; Con: Claudia Peña Hidalgo
HT: Ireland 14 Spain 0

Team: Stacey Flood, Béibhinn Parsons, Erin King, Emily Lane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Subs used: Kathy Baker, Megan Burns, Kate Farrell McCabe, Katie Heffernan, Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

IRELAND 31 JAPAN 24, The Sevens Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Béibhinn Parsons 2, Lucy Mulhall; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 3
Canada: Tries: Wakaba Hara, Chiharu Nakamura, Sayo Yasui, Hana Nagata; Cons: Michiyo Suda, Hana Nagata
HT: Ireland 19 Japan 5

Team: Stacey Flood, Béibhinn Parsons, Erin King, Emily Lane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Subs used: Katie Heffernan, Kate Farrell McCabe, Brittany Hogan, Megan Burns. Not used: Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

FIJI v IRELAND, The Sevens Stadium, 4.13pm local time/12.13pm Irish time

Saturday, December 3 –