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Ireland Trio Included In HSBC SVNS Perth Dream Teams

Ireland Trio Included In HSBC SVNS Perth Dream Teams

Ireland Trio Included In HSBC SVNS Perth Dream Teams

Captain Lucy Mulhall celebrates with Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and the rest of the Ireland squad following their qualification for the Cup final in Perth ©INPHO/Travis Hayto

An exceptional weekend for the IRFU Sevens Programmes was rounded off by Lucy Mulhall, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, and Terry Kennedy earning places on the HSBC SVNS Perth Dream Teams.

It comes on the back of the Ireland Women making history by winning their first ever HSBC SVNS Series tournament title in the Western Australian capital, while the Ireland Men beat Fiji for just the second time to finish the event as bronze medallists.

Sponsored by TritonLake, the two Ireland Sevens squads kicked off 2024 in fine style in the scorching Perth heat, both earning podium finishes at the same HSBC SVNS Series leg for the first time.

Ireland Women’s captain Mulhall and record try scorer Murphy Crowe were both hugely influential as Allan Temple-Jones’ charges struck gold by edging out hosts Australia 19-14 in a thrilling Cup final.

The experienced pair, with 82 SVNS Series tournament caps between them, scored a try each in the Perth decider. Murphy Crowe touched down in all bar one of Ireland’s six games as her six-try tally marked her out as the tournament’s top try scorer.

The Tipperary speedster is the SVNS Series’ third leading try scorer of all-time with 178 tries, behind New Zealand’s Portia Woodman-Wickliffe (236) and Michaela Blyde (206).

A real driving force for the girls in green, particularly on the final day in front of over 20,000 fans at HBF Park, Mulhall starred with a 16-point haul, including two tries, in the Cup semi-final victory over Great Britain.

The Wicklow native went on to score nine crucial points against series leaders Australia, and become the first Irish player, male or female, to lift a SVNS Series Cup. She was also chosen as the HSBC player of the final.

The Ireland Women were ruthlessly efficient in attack in Perth, scoring 19 tries from 21 visits to the opposition 22. They showed plenty of grit too to claim three of their five wins by five points or less – 19-14 against the USA, 14-12 against Fiji, and that five-point final triumph.

It is the first time the Ireland Women have been represented on a SVNS Series tournament’s Dream Team since last season’s closing event in Toulouse when both Mulhall and Murphy Crowe were selected, following the Olympic qualification-clinching victory over Fiji.

Joining the Ireland duo in the Perth Dream Team line-up were Australia’s Bienne Terita and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, the USA’s Kristi Kirshe, Krissy Scurfield from Canada, and Great Britain flyer Ellie Boatman.

Meanwhile, it is back-to-back Dream Team nods for Kennedy as the Ireland Men, coached by James Topping, featured in the final four for the second successive SVNS Series leg.

The playmaking Dubliner bagged an important brace of tries in the 24-7 3rd place play-off success against Fiji. That took his weekend’s haul to six, and 17 for the season so far, leaving him just three behind Argentina’s Marcos Moneta (20).

He also showed his leadership qualities in the bronze medal clash, captaining the team in the injury-enforced absence of Harry McNulty, who recently won the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Men’s Sevens Player of the Year award.

Kennedy has now scored 95 tries in 23 SVNS Series tournaments, leaving him just five off becoming only the second Irishman to reach the century mark on the circuit. His team-mate, Jordan Conroy, leads the way with 112 tries in 29 events.

The Perth Dream Team is completed by Moneta and Rodrigo Isgro from tournament winners Argentina, Fiji’s Kaminieli Rasaku, and the Australian trio of Nick Malouf, Maurice Longbottom, and Nathan Lawson.

With the Ireland Women rising to fourth in the overall standings and the fifth-placed Men closing the gap on some of the teams above them, the SVNS Series will continue with back-to-back rounds in Vancouver (February 23-25) and Los Angeles (March 1-3).