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Murphy Crowe Becomes SVNS Series’ Third Top Try Scorer Of All-Time

Murphy Crowe Becomes SVNS Series’ Third Top Try Scorer Of All-Time

Murphy Crowe Becomes SVNS Series’ Third Top Try Scorer Of All-Time

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe is pictured breaking through to score for Ireland against Great Britain at Cape Town's DHL Stadium ©INPHO/Chris Cotze

The Ireland Women (sponsored by TritonLake) will face Australia in tomorrow’s Cup quarter-finals, having battled their way through a tough pool phase at the HSBC SVNS Series leg in Cape Town.

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe ran in a hat-trick of tries against Brazil as she became the Women’s Series’ third top try scorer of all-time, edging ahead of Canada’s Bianca Farella (168).

Adding in her follow-up score against Great Britain, Murphy Crowe now has 171 tries to her name. The Tipperary flyer currently has an average of almost four tries per tournament.

Only New Zealand duo Portia Woodman-Wickliffe (233) and Michaela Blyde (199) are ahead of her, while the 28-year-old winger, so vital to Ireland’s historic qualification for the 2024 Olympics, has started the new season with seven tries in as many matches.

The Lucy Mulhall-led girls in green kicked off the second round in South Africa with a 39-14 win over Brazil, before Eve Higgins’ late try gave them a losing bonus point in a 19-15 defeat to neighbours Great Britain.

In the end, three teams from Pool B made it through to the quarter-final stage as Ireland advanced as the second best third place finishers, despite losing 33-7 to table toppers New Zealand in their final game of the day.

Australia, the champions in Dubai last week, are next up for Allan Temple-Jones’ charges in the last-eight. Their quarter-final clash kicks off at 9.22am local time/7.22am Irish time, with live coverage for free (registration required) on www.rugbypass.tv.

In windy conditions, Ireland began their Cape Town campaign by leaking an early try to Brazilian speedster Thalia Costa, who evaded the clutches of Vicky Elmes Kinlan near the left touchline to run in an opening seven-pointer.

The restart kick bounced back off Stacey Flood’s fingertips for Murphy Crowe to gobble up possession and dart clear from the Irish 10-metre line, with her quick-fire response closing the gap to 7-5.

Combined with the team’s swarming defence, Erin King got in at the breakdown to force a penalty on the edge of Brazil’s 22, and Flood tapped it, stringing passes together with captain Mulhall and King who fed Megan Burns for a straightforward finish and a 12-7 lead.

The ball went loose from the restart, Burns breaking onto it and offloading for Emily Lane to outpace Brazilian skipper Luiza Campos for the line. With clean lineout ball fed across the pitch, Murphy Crowe got outside Bianca Silva to make it 22-7 at half-time.

Ireland lost Mulhall to the sin bin early in the second half, following what was deemed to be a deliberate knock-on. But they remained well connected in defence, and lively replacement Higgins duly forced a knock-on in a tackle.

Murphy Crowe’s footwork, strength and speed then saw her score again from her own 10-metre line. Sprung from the bench, Aoibheann Reilly got in between two defenders to score her first SVNS Series try, with King’s smart offload and a sidestepping Flood run the highlights of the build-up.

Costa scorched clear from her own 22 to close the gap to 32-14 late on, but there was still time for replacement Béibhinn Parsons to sprint in behind the posts from halfway, set free by Higgins who jinked into space and dangled a peach of a pass out to the left.

Beaten 37-5 by New Zealand in their first outing, Great Britain stung Ireland with an early try as Isla Norman-Bell carried up close from a quickly-taken penalty before Jade Shekells powered in under the posts.

Murphy Crowe tore downfield for a rapid 80-metre run-in, having been put into space by quick passes from Mulhall and Flood. The missed conversion left Britain leading 7-5.

Mulhall and Murphy Crowe gobbled up a big chunk of ground down the blindside of a scrum, with King’s offload out the back keeping a free-flowing attack going before Parsons was freed up to score in the right corner.

Taking a 10-7 advantage into the second half, Ireland could not build on a pacy Burns break and it was Britain who seized the initiative with back-to-back tries.

Emma Uren’s chip over the defence bounced invitingly for Shekells to run in a long-range second score, and with a loose Mulhall pass giving GB a midfield scrum, Norman-Bell broke to the left and fed Uren to dart over in the left corner.

Trailing by nine points and with only seconds remaining, Ireland did salvage a bonus point when Elmes Kinlan brought them back into British territory, and Higgins dummied past Grace Crompton for a lung-busting 16th-minute effort.

Closing out the pool stages against the Black Ferns Sevens, Ireland pressed from a clever early move off a scrum as Murphy Crowe got to take on fellow speedster Blyde out wide.

A Stacey Waaka knock-on spoiled a promising break initiated by Kelly Brazier. From the resulting fourth-minute scrum, Burns attacked from halfway and showed impressive strength to slip out of a tackle from Tenika Willison and raid in under the posts.

Crucially, Ireland leaked two converted tries late in the first half. Winning both preceding restarts, Jorja Miller cruised clear from inside her own half, and then Jazmin Felix-Hotham burst in between two defenders to make it 14-7.

Missed tackles allowed Waaka through to score out wide in the ninth minute, and Willison finished off some slick interplay to push the margin out to 19 points.

Wicklow native Elmes Kinlan had a strong burst up past halfway, but New Zealand wrapped up their five-try victory when replacement Mahina Paul shrugged off both Murphy Crowe and Elmes Kinlan to run in a brilliant solo score just past the final hooter.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC SVNS Series – Cape Town 7s, DHL Stadium, Cape Town, Saturday, December 9-Sunday, December 10, 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)
Lucinda Kinghan (Railway Union RFC)
Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC)

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC SVNS Series – Cape Town:

Saturday, December 9 –


Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 3, Megan Burns, Emily Lane, Aoibheann Reilly, Béibhinn Parsons; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2
Brazil: Tries: Thalia Costa 2; Cons: Luiza Campos 2
HT: Ireland 22 Brazil 7

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

Replacements used: Eve Higgins, Béibhinn Parsons, Natasja Behan, Aoibheann Reilly, Katie Heffernan.

Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Béibhinn Parsons, Eve Higgins
Great Britain: Tries: Jade Shekells 2, Emma Uren; Cons: Emma Uren 2
HT: Ireland 10 Great Britain 7

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

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

Scorers: New Zealand: Tries: Jorja Miller, Jazmin Felix-Hotham, Stacey Waaka, Tenika Willison, Mahina Paul; Cons: Risi Pouri-Lane, Tenika Willison 2, Manaia Nuku
Ireland: Try: Megan Burns; Con: Lucy Mulhall
HT: New Zealand 14 Ireland 7

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

Replacements used: Eve Higgins, Kate Farrell McCabe, Vicky Elmes Kinlan. Not used: Natasja Behan, Katie Heffernan.

Sunday, December 10 –


AUSTRALIA v IRELAND, DHL Stadium, 9.22am local time/7.22am Irish time