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Ireland Women Set Up France Showdown In Hamilton

Ireland Women Set Up France Showdown In Hamilton

Beibhinn Parsons makes a break 21/1/2023

Béibhinn Parsons breaks clear to score a try during Ireland's pool win over Spain at the HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton ©INPHO/John Cowpland

The Ireland Women (sponsored by TritonLake) will take on France in another mouth-watering Cup quarter-final clash at the HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton.

Aiden McNulty’s side won two of their opening three matches to advance as Pool C runners-up, setting up a rematch with France whom they defeated 12-10 at the quarter-final stage in Cape Town.

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe crossed twice and captain Lucy Mulhall converted all four tries, including her own, as Ireland kicked off the New Zealand tournament with a 28-5 win over Brazil.

Kathy Baker, Béibhinn Parsons and Emily Lane joined those two on the scoresheet in round two, as Spain were dispatched in convincing fashion (31-5) in a game that saw Natasja Behan make her Ireland Sevens debut.

However, in the pool decider, the USA built a first half lead and held onto it despite a Megan Burns try. Ireland will aim to bounce back from that 15-7 defeat when they face the French tonight (kick-off 9.14pm Irish time).

Ireland were quick to press out wide in their pool opener against Brazil. Marcelle Souza’s sin-binning for a deliberate knock-on opened the door for Eve Higgins to break down the blindside and score in the second minute.

Mulhall converted with aplomb and also added the extras to an expertly-finished try from Murphy Crowe, who jinked past Thalia Costa and took Rafaela Zanellato with her over the line.

Costa showed her pace to get Brazil on the board, making it 14-5 for half-time, but Ireland regained control early in the second half to open up a decisive cushion.

After Parsons had pounced on a ruck ball that squirted loose, Higgins, Emily Lane and Mulhall got the ball wide for Murphy Crowe to cross via a hand-off on Marina Fioravanti.

Mulhall sidestepped one way and then the other to get past Gisele Gomes dos Santos for Ireland’s fourth try in the 11th minute. A kinder bounce might have seen Burns score from a Mulhall chip over the top.

The girls in green built an early lead when they renewed rivalries with Spain, Lane getting to the breaking ball from the kick-off and Anna McGann released Murphy Crowe to go over out wide inside the opening seconds.

Ireland’s territorial dominance translated into a 17-0 half-time lead, with Kathy Baker crashing over courtesy of McGann’s offload out of a tackle in the fifth minute.

Kate Farrell McCabe got the ball away from two defenders for Mulhall to strike late, the Wicklow native landing a tricky conversion from the left to further extend her team’s advantage.

Regathering possession after being tackled short, Parsons made it 24-0 with three minutes to go and then scrum half Lane stepped inside one defender and out of a tackle to raid in behind the posts.

Kilanerin woman Behan came on to make her World Series bow, but it was Spain who had the final say, replacement Ingrid Algar running in a late breakaway effort.

The game to decide who topped the pool brought Ireland inside FMG Stadium Waikato for the first time. Handling errors thwarted both teams until Naya Tapper struck in the third minute.

The USA speedster was able to fend off Murphy Crowe twice on a run-in from halfway, before a loose pass from Baker was punished when Ilona Maher released Tapper to go over out wide and make it 10-0.

Maher saw yellow early in the second half for a knock-on in a tackle, and the US defence was gradually worn down, Higgins and McGann both running well and the latter’s well-timed offload sent Burns in behind the posts.

Mulhall’s conversion left just three points in it, but the returning Maher got the Americans back on the front foot and replacement Kris Thomas capitalised on two missed tackles to settle the issue.

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 New Zealand Sevens, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, January 20-21, 2023):

Kathy Baker (Blackrock College RFC)
Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC)
Megan Burns (Blackrock College RFC)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC)
Claire Boles (Railway Union RFC)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC)
Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC)
Vicky Elmes Kinlan (Wicklow RFC)
Emily Lane (Blackrock College RFC)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC)
Lucy Mulhall (Wicklow RFC) (capt)
Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC)

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC New Zealand Sevens:

Saturday, January 21 –


IRELAND 28 BRAZIL 5, FMG Stadium Waikato pitch 2
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 2, Lucy Mulhall; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 4
Brazil: Try: Thalia Costa
HT: Ireland 14 Brazil 5

Team: Anna McGann, Kathy Baker, Béibhinn Parsons, Emily Lane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Subs used: Erin King, Claire Boles, Kate Farrell McCabe, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Megan Burns.

IRELAND 31 SPAIN 5, FMG Stadium Waikato pitch 2
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Kathy Baker, Lucy Mulhall, Béibhinn Parsons, Emily Lane; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 3
Spain: Try: Ingrid Algar
HT: Ireland 17 Spain 0

Team: Anna McGann, Kathy Baker, Béibhinn Parsons, Emily Lane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Subs used: Kate Farrell McCabe, Megan Burns, Erin King, Claire Boles, Natasja Behan.

USA 15 IRELAND 7, FMG Stadium Waikato
Scorers: USA: Naya Tapper 2, Kris Thomas
Ireland: Try: Megan Burns; Con: Lucy Mulhall
HT: USA 10 Ireland 0

Team: Anna McGann, Kathy Baker, Béibhinn Parsons, Emily Lane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Subs used: Megan Burns, Erin King, Claire Boles. Not used: Kate Farrell McCabe, Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

Sunday, January 22 –


FRANCE v IRELAND, FMG Stadium Waikato, 10.14am local time/9.14pm Irish time