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Ireland Women Knock Out France To Reach Cape Town’s Final Four

Ireland Women Knock Out France To Reach Cape Town’s Final Four

Ireland Women Knock Out France To Reach Cape Town’s Final Four

Ireland Women's Sevens captain Lucy Mulhall drives forward during a fiercely-contested Cup quarter-final against France in Cape Town ©INPHO/Christiaan Kotze

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Béibhinn Parsons were both on the scoresheet in Cape Town as the Ireland Women (sponsored by TritonLake) qualified for their fourth Cup semi-final in five World Series tournaments.

Despite a second half fight-back from France, Ireland stood firm to claim a hard-fought 12-10 quarter-final win and set up a last-four showdown with New Zealand, the silver medallists in Dubai last week.

Already guaranteed a quarter-final place, head coach Aiden McNulty fielded a much-changed team against Australia who ran out 29-0 winners of the Pool A decider, but Ireland bounced back in determined fashion against the French.

Murphy Crowe heads into the final day of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens as the tournament’s top try scorer on six. She is now fourth on the World Series’ all-time list (145 tries), having passed out Canadian legend Ghislaine Landry.

The girls in green take on New Zealand tomorrow morning at 11.24am local time/9.24am Irish time, with the USA and World Series leaders Australia on the other side of the draw.

Kathy Baker, Brittany Hogan, Wicklow teenager Vicky Elmes Kinlan and Megan Burns came into the starting line-up for the pool finale against the in-form Australians.

They kept the margin down to 10 points in the first half, but a Faith Nathan score early in the second half and a late brace from replacement Bienne Terita saw the recent Rugby World Cup winners top the pool in convincing fashion.

Into the knockout rounds, Ireland seized a second-minute lead against France. Eve Higgins’ clever run out to the right, on halfway, pulled Lili Dezou across and opened up a gap for Murphy Crowe to surge through and go over untouched.

French errors allowed Ireland to remain on the front foot, with Stacey Flood’s kick just having too much on it as she tried to set up a try in the right corner for Parsons.

A knock-on and a penalty kept France pinned back and Ireland took advantage in the sixth minute. Erin King’s excellent offload out of a double tackle, coupled with a quick Flood pass, freed up Parsons to nip in beside the posts.

A terrific chase back by Higgins foiled a potential breakaway try for Camille Grassineau, and captain Lucy Mulhall, who had converted Ireland’s second score, made an important interception in her own 22 to make sure it stayed 12-0 for half-time.

Ireland’s defensive workload increased on the restart, Murphy Crowe, Mulhall and Kate Farrell McCabe all required to make try-saving interventions before France created the space for Grassineau to cross in the left corner.

Crucially, Yolaine Yengo’s conversion bounced back off the crossbar to leave it 12-5. Mulhall clawed back territory a few phases later with a long kick downfield, pushing les Bleues back into their own 22.

A powerful hit from King typified Ireland’s tenacious tackling, and they almost settled the issue through Murphy Crowe. She broke free from one tackle, but the fresh-legged Lucy Hapulat managed to haul her down outside the French 22.

Ireland did concede past the final hooter, following a run of penalties which invited France forward through quick taps. Alycia Chrystiaens got away from Katie Heffernan to crash over in the right corner, taking Parsons with her.

Although the Ballinasloe flyer saw yellow for a high tackle in attempting to stop her, there was no time left and the all-important conversion from Yengo dropped short as McNulty’s charges took a step closer to a podium finish in the Mother City.

You can watch all the World Series action live on the World Rugby Sevens website, while there will be updates across Irish Rugby social channels and reports here on IrishRugby.ie.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC Cape Town Sevens, Cape Town Stadium, December 9-11, 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)
Claire Boles (Railway Union RFC)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Lucy Mulhall (Wicklow RFC) (capt)
Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC)

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC Cape Town Sevens:

Friday, December 9 –


IRELAND 33 SPAIN 12, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 3, Béibhinn Parsons 2; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 4
Spain: Tries: Amaia Erbina, Bruna Elias; Con: Claudia Peña Hidalgo
HT: Ireland 14 Spain 7

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

Subs used: Kate Farrell McCabe, Megan Burns, Brittany Hogan, Kathy Baker, Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

IRELAND 24 SOUTH AFRICA 0, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 2, Béibhinn Parsons, Megan Burns; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2
South Africa: –
HT: Ireland 12 South Africa 0

Team: Katie Heffernan, Erin King, Béibhinn Parsons, Kate Farrell McCabe, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Subs used: Megan Burns, Brittany Hogan, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Kathy Baker, Claire Boles.

Day 1 Round-Up: Murphy Crowe Fast Out Of The Blocks With Five-Try Haul

Saturday, December 10 –


AUSTRALIA 29 IRELAND 0, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Sariah Paki, Madison Ashby, Faith Nathan, Bienne Terita 2; Cons: Sharni Williams, Dominique du Toit
Ireland: –
HT: Australia 10 Ireland 0

Team: Kathy Baker, Brittany Hogan, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Katie Heffernan, Lucy Mulhall, Megan Burns, Béibhinn Parsons.

Subs used: Erin King, Kate Farrell McCabe, Eve Higgins, Claire Boles. Not used: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.


FRANCE 10 IRELAND 12, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: France: Tries: Camille Grassineau, Alycia Chrystiaens
Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Béibhinn Parsons; Con: Lucy Mulhall
HT: France 0 Ireland 12

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

Subs used: Megan Burns, Kathy Baker, Katie Heffernan. Not used: Claire Boles, Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

Sunday, December 11 –


NEW ZEALAND v IRELAND, Cape Town Stadium, 11.24am local time/9.24am Irish time