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Flood Reaches 50 Caps As Ireland Women Advance To Dubai’s Last-Eight

Flood Reaches 50 Caps As Ireland Women Advance To Dubai’s Last-Eight

Flood Reaches 50 Caps As Ireland Women Advance To Dubai’s Last-Eight

Stacey Flood kicked off the new HSBC SVNS season by winning her 50th tournament cap for Ireland ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

Ireland Women’s Sevens stalwart Stacey Flood marked her 50th tournament cap by helping the team progress to the Cup quarter-finals at the opening HSBC SVNS Series leg in Dubai.

Allan Temple-Jones’ charges kicked off the new season with wins over Japan (35-7) and Brazil (19-14) before Australia, last year’s Dubai champions, won the Pool B decider by a clear 28 points.

Back at the desert venue where they recently won the WXV3 title with the Ireland 15s team, Béibhinn Parsons and Eve Higgins scored two tries each during the pool stages, while Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe also bagged a brace.

Ireland (sponsored by TritonLake) will play Canada in tomorrow’s quarter-finals (kick-off 9.52am local time/5.52am Irish time). You can watch all the action for free on RugbyPass TV, and there will be news and social media updates in our new Ireland Sevens hub at irishrugby.ie/ireland7s.

Dubliner Flood led out the team for their early morning opener against Japan, and she forced a breakdown penalty before drawing in the defence to send Parsons over in the third minute.

With Japan continuing to leak penalties, the Irish pressure led to record try scorer Murphy Crowe crossing from close range via a deflected Lucy Mulhall offload.

Parsons was quickly in to win a turnover penalty, and her strong hand-off and burst of pace took her over to complete her brace. Captain Mulhall added a third well-struck conversion for a 21-0 half-time lead.

Having qualified for the Olympics just two weeks ago, Japan lifted the tempo on the restart. A fine offload from Chiharu Nakamura put Sakura Mizutani in behind the posts to pull back seven points.

A barnstorming carry from Murphy Crowe got Ireland back on the front foot, before replacement Higgins sidestepped through from the edge of Japan’s 22 to score under the posts.

There was still time for a fifth converted try which came past the final hooter, as Higgins used a Katie Heffernan turnover to brilliantly cut in past two defenders and fend off a third.

Ireland had to play catch-up in their next match against 11th-ranked Brazil, who gained the upper hand early on thanks to a couple of well-taken converted tries from Bianca Silva and Mariana Nicolau.

Silva got outside Mulhall’s attempted tackle to run in from Ireland’s 10-metre line. Nicolau then hacked a miscued Mulhall kick on, forced a penalty at the breakdown and took it quickly to dummy her way over, making it 14-0.

It was a hard grind for the girls in green, with some penalty decisions going against them. Mulhall fired back at the breakdown, and a subsequent quick tap from Emily Lane saw her dive over from a couple of metres out.

Mulhall’s conversion halved the deficit for half-time, and it was her flat pass that put Erin King powering in between two defenders for a levelling eighth-minute try.

Ireland hit the front in the 11th minute, Higgins and Mulhall making the incisions and the latter passed off the ground for Murphy Crowe to muscle her way over, despite the presence of three defenders.

Despite the Brazilians looking dangerous, particularly out wide through Thalia Costa, Temple-Jones’ side held firm with a turnover penalty, won by Murphy Crowe, allowing them to see out a hard-fought five-point victory.

Parsons was prominent during the early exchanges with second-ranked Australia. She caught Charlotte Caslick with a thumping tackle and followed up a few phases later to win a penalty at the breakdown.

Scrum half Lane had a couple of sniping runs, but Australia’s defence remained intact and Maddison Levi sprinted clear for a long-range sixth-minute try, converted by her younger sister Teagan.

Caslick hauled down Parsons to prevent a breakaway score from the Ballinasloe native, and Maddison Levi then capitalised on two missed tackles to leave it 14-0 at the turnaround.

Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea did the hard work before laying off for Caslick to cross just 50 seconds into the second half. Tim Walsh’s well-drilled outfit cut loose for two more tries, both run in by Faith Nathan, for a 33-0 scoreline.

Starved of territory, Ireland did hit back right on the final hooter when replacement Kate Farrell McCabe used a neat sidestep to score from a Heffernan pass.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC SVNS Series – Emirates Dubai 7s, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, Saturday, December 2-Sunday, December 3, 2023):

Natasja Behan (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)
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)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC)


Saturday, December 2 –


IRELAND 35 JAPAN 7, The Sevens Stadium Pitch 2
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Béibhinn Parsons 2, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins 2; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 5
Japan: Try: Sakura Mizutani; Con: Arisa Nishi
HT: Ireland 21 Japan 0

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

Replacements used: Eve Higgins, Katie Heffernan, Aoibheann Reilly, Vicky Elmes Kinlan. Not used: Natasja Behan.

IRELAND 19 BRAZIL 14, The Sevens Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Emily Lane, Erin King, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2
Brazil: Tries: Bianca Silva, Mariana Nicolau; Cons: Mariana Nicolau 2
HT: Ireland 7 Brazil 14

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

Replacements used: Eve Higgins, Katie Heffernan. Not used: Natasja Behan, Aoibheann Reilly, Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

AUSTRALIA 33 IRELAND 5, The Sevens Stadium
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Maddison Levi 2, Charlotte Caslick, Faith Nathan 2; Cons: Teagan Levi 4
Ireland: Try: Kate Farrell McCabe
HT: Australia 14 Ireland 0

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

Replacements used: Katie Heffernan, Aoibheann Reilly, Natasja Behan, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Kate Farrell McCabe.

Sunday, December 3 –


IRELAND v CANADA, The Sevens Stadium, kick-off 9.52am local time/5.52am Irish time