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Ireland Women Progress As Pool Winners At Dubai 7s

Ireland Women Progress As Pool Winners At Dubai 7s

Ireland Women Progress As Pool Winners At Dubai 7s

Eve Higgins was at her influential best during Ireland's final round victory over Fiji at the Emirates Dubai 7s ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

Eve Higgins starred with four tries as the Ireland Women (sponsored by TritonLake) finished top of Pool C on the opening day of the Emirates Dubai 7s.

Aiden McNulty’s side have hit the ground running at the start of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, defeating Spain (21-7), Japan (31-24) and third seeds Fiji (24-17) to reach the last-eight in style.

The influence of Higgins and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, who contributed three tries as did Béibhinn Parsons, can be seen by the fact that the pair are at the top of the DHL Impact Player Tracker after day one.

Ireland will face the USA, the Pool A runners-up, in tomorrow’s Cup quarter-finals at 9.22am local time/5.22am Irish time. They beat the Eagles outfit 17-14 in their most recent meeting in Langford last May.

This will be the girls in green’s fifth successive Cup quarter-final appearance on the World Series. A measure of their progress is the fact that they lost seven of their eight pool games at the two Dubai events this time last year.

McNulty’s charges handed Fiji the early momentum, a couple of offloads opening the way for Ana Maria Naimasi to break clear of Emily Lane. The chasing Parsons was unable to reel her in, with the try going unconverted.

Higgins led the Irish response, injecting pace into a third-minute attack off a scrum. She evaded the clutches of Reapi Ulunisau, on the edge of the Fijian 22, and raided in under the posts despite a committed chase from Naimasi.

Captain Lucy Mulhall converted to nudge her side in front at 7-5, and following a ball-dislodging tackle by Higgins, Murphy Crowe had the legs on Naimasi to score from a peach of a pass by Flood.

There was still time for Parsons to squeeze in another try past the half-time hooter. Erin King twice got scrappy possession back into a team-mate’s hands, and Parsons, teed up by Higgins, impressively held off Raijieli Daveua to get the ball down in the left corner.

Into the second half, a Murphy Crowe break, combined with a turnover penalty won by Flood, kept Ireland playing in the right areas of the pitch and they were duly rewarded as 17-5 became 24-5.

Once more it was Higgins who unlocked a Fijian defence that was caught over-chasing. She stepped inside, breaking free from 40 metres out to score behind the posts. Mulhall’s conversion widened the margin to 19 points.

However, when replacement Kathy Baker took out Daveua in the air from the restart, last season’s World Series bronze medallists punished the sin-binning with quick-fire tries from Alowesi Nakoci and Lavena Cavuru, who had both been sprung from the bench.

Crucially, with Baker back on, Fiji miscued their restart and Ireland were able to control possession off a final scrum, allowing Mulhall to kick the ball dead and ensure her team completed a clean sweep of pool victories.

Earlier on in very humid conditions, a Higgins try inside the opening seconds set Mulhall and her team-mates on their way to a well-judged win over Spain.

Parsons scored either side of half-time during Ireland’s 31-24 triumph over fast-finishing Japan. Murphy Crowe, Higgins and Mulhall also made it over the whitewash before the Japanese put in a late rally that delivered two tries.

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

Day 1 Round-Up: Fast Start For Ireland Women In Dubai Heat

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 17 IRELAND 24, The Sevens Stadium
Scorers: Fiji: Tries: Ana Maria Naimasi, Alowesi Nakoci, Lavena Cavuru; Con: Lavena Cavuru
Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins 2, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Béibhinn Parsons; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2
HT: Fiji 5 Ireland 17

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

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

Saturday, December 3 –


IRELAND v USA, The Sevens Stadium, 9.22am local time/5.22am Irish time