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Parsons Shines As Ireland Women Claim Seventh Spot In Cape Town

Parsons Shines As Ireland Women Claim Seventh Spot In Cape Town

Béibhinn Parsons runs in to score a try 10/12/2023

Béibhinn Parsons dashed over for four tries on the final day of the HSBC SVNS Series tournament in Cape Town ©INPHO/Chris Cotze

Béibhinn Parsons’ 50th HSBC SVNS Series try clinched a play-off win for the Ireland Women (sponsored by TritonLake) to close out the Cape Town leg on a positive note.

Ireland avenged yesterday’s pool defeat to beat Great Britain 17-5 and secure a seventh place finish, having earlier been knocked out of Cup contention by eventual champions Australia.

Parsons bagged a brace of tries during the 24-14 loss to the high-flying Australians, and the lightning-quick 22-year-old followed up with another double against Britain to finish the weekend with a six-try tally.

She was Cape Town’s joint-third top try scorer alongside Brazil speedster Thalia Costa, and just behind France’s Anne-Cécile Ciofani. Top of the scoring charts again was Maddison Levi, who crossed nine times as Australia won back-to-back titles.

Only Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, who is now third on the all-time list (172), and Eve Higgins (63) have scored more World Series tries for the Ireland Women.

While disappointed not to break back into the top four, Allan Temple Jones’ charges collected eight points in South Africa and only dropped one place to seventh in the overall standings. There is a four-point gap to the USA, the sixth-placed side, who sit on 22 points.

The Ireland squad will enjoy some well-deserved downtime over Christmas, including at captain Lucy Mulhall’s upcoming wedding, before kicking off the Olympic year with the next HSBC SVNS Series leg in Perth (January 26-28).

With their tails up following last week’s gold medal run in Dubai, Australia quickly took the lead against Ireland. Maddison Levi tackled Mulhall in touch from the restart, and crisp passing off the lineout sent Faith Nathan over inside the first minute.

Two minutes later, Parsons saw yellow for what was deemed a deliberate knock-on in a tackle. Maddison Levi was released out wide to double the Australians’ advantage to 10-0, but Ireland finished the first half in much better fettle.

Good running from Murphy Crowe and Higgins punched some holes in the defence, and the returning Parsons raced clear from halfway for a timely try, created by Stacey Flood’s tying up of two defenders and her smart offload back inside.

The extras from Mulhall made it 10-7, and Australia needed a strong tackle from Teagan Levi to prevent Flood from scoring past the half-time hooter.

However, Ireland could not convert early second half pressure into points, and a switch move inside their own 22 saw Madison Ashby release Bienne Terita to charge downfield and restore the 10-point gap.

Mulhall immediately returned fire by running to her left from the restart, opening up a hole for Parsons to dart through and she had the pace to evade the chasing Nathan and Dominique du Toit’s tap tackle, on a sizzling 70-metre run-in.

With their lead cut to 17-14, Australia showed exactly why they are top of the table with du Toit breaking down the left wing, and although Murphy Crowe brought her down, her pass found Maddison Levi who finished off behind the posts.

Replacement Natasja Behan sparked hopes of another Irish try in the dying seconds, breaking from deep, yet her offload was just too low for Higgins to gather cleanly and the top seeds kicked the ball dead from the resulting scrum.

There was a helter-skelter start to the 7th place play-off as Megan Burns, taking a great line onto a Mulhall pass, was stopped just short by Jasmine Joyce. Britain then broke out wide through Grace Crompton, only for Murphy Crowe to reel her in.

The breakdown was fiercely contested with Parsons and Murphy Crowe both hunting for turnovers, and the latter earned a penalty to break up some British momentum. Ireland held possession for the next few minutes and made it count.

Mulhall took advantage of a chink in the GB defence, linking with Murphy Crowe, and the newly-introduced Erin King got the ball wide for Parsons to shrug off Lisa Thomson’s attempted tackle and make it 5-0 at half-time.

Britain suffered an early setback on the resumption, with Jade Shekells receiving a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on. From the resulting scrum, Emily Lane fed Murphy Crowe who expertly cut inside Isla Norman-Bell and stayed clear of the chasers to double Ireland’s lead.

GB captain Abbie Brown provided the inspiration for her side with a well-finished long-range response, having beaten Lane’s initial tackle. The next score looked like being the decisive one with just three minutes left on the clock.

Ireland pressurised the British scrum, allowing replacement Aoibheann Reilly to snap up turnover ball. King got her hands free in a tackle to keep the move going, while passes from Higgins and Burns were also on the money as they put Parsons raiding over for her 50th try on the circuit.

The Ballinasloe youngster still had plenty to do, but her strong hand-off pushed Heather Cowell out of the way and gave her a clear path to the try-line. Mulhall converted off the post for a 12-point cushion, and a couple of GB knock-ons allowed Ireland to seal a hard-fought result.

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.

Day 1 Round-Up: Murphy Crowe Becomes SVNS Series’ Third Top Try Scorer Of All-Time

Sunday, December 10 –


Scorers: Australia: Tries: Faith Nathan, Maddison Levi 2, Bienne Terita; Cons: Teagan Levi, Dominique du Toit
Ireland: Tries: Béibhinn Parsons 2; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2
HT: Australia 10 Ireland 7

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

Replacements used: Erin King, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Katie Heffernan, Natasja Behan, Kate Farrell McCabe.


Scorers: Australia: Tries: Béibhinn Parsons 2, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Con: Lucy Mulhall
Great Britain: Try: Abbie Brown
HT: Ireland 5 Great Britain 0

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

Replacements used: Erin King, Aoibheann Reilly, Katie Heffernan, Kate Farrell McCabe, Natasja Behan.