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Ireland Women Edge Out Britain For LA 7s Cup Quarter-Final Place

Ireland Women Edge Out Britain For LA 7s Cup Quarter-Final Place

Ireland Women Edge Out Britain For LA 7s Cup Quarter-Final Place

Lucinda Kinghan is congratulated by Emily Lane and Megan Burns after touching down during Ireland's final pool game against Japan in Los Angeles ©Mike Lee/KLC Fotos for World Rugby

Monaghan native Lucinda Kinghan scored her first HSBC SVNS Series try as a 26-12 win over Japan steered the Ireland Women (sponsored by TritonLake) through to the last-eight of the LA 7s tournament.

Having lost to both Australia (31-0) and France (21-5), the pressure was on Ireland heading into their final Pool B fixture, especially with captain Lucy Rock and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe both sidelined through injury.

Japan took an early lead and fought back to level at 12 points apiece, but closing scores from Eve Higgins and replacement Aoibheann Reilly ultimately proved vital in Allan Temple-Jones’ side breaking back into the top eight.

Disappointed to end up ninth in Vancouver last week, the Ireland Women did enough to squeeze through as the second best third place finishers across the three LA 7s pools.

Ireland, who gave a HSBC SVNS Series debut to Alana Fitzpatrick against Japan, finished up with three points and a -33 scoring difference. Great Britain, who could have pipped them, lost a tight final pool game to Spain.

With two of their leaders relegated to the stands, Temple-Jones spoke about it being a ‘learning curve’ for his young players, and a test of squad depth.

The girls in green will return to the Dignity Health Sports Park pitch for their quarter-final against New Zealand at 10.36am local time/6.36pm Irish time (live on RugbyPass TV).

Stacey Flood captained Ireland on day two in the injury-enforced absence of Rock, and they quickly fell behind to a breakaway first-minute try from France flyer Anne-Cécile Ciofani.

Missed tackles were proving Ireland’s undoing as les Bleues burst into an early 14-0 lead. Camille Grassineau sidestepped and accelerated through to score from just outside the Irish 22, with Béibhinn Parsons seeing yellow for a high tackle during the build-up.

The SVNS Series’ sixth-ranked team did improve as the first half wore on, with Flood, who kicked through twice and had a foot race with Grassineau late on, and Higgins both coming to the fore. Unfortunately they had nothing to show for some late territory.

Ireland picked up the pace on the restart, forcing a trio of penalties. Flood crashed up close before the newly-introduced Reilly timed her pass well to send Higgins diving over to reduce the arrears to nine points.

Megan Burns ran strongly through the middle, and coupled with another Flood kick, Ireland made it back into the French 22. However, right on the stroke of full-time, Jade Ulutule sped clear for an excellent solo score to confirm the result.

That left Ireland needing a sizable victory over Japan, and they got off to a poor start. A crafty loop move saw Hanako Utsumi unlock the defence, and her no-look pass put Wakaba Hara haring away to score a terrific team try.

Nonetheless, Ireland were back level at seven-all by the third minute. Popping up on the edge of Ireland’s 22, Parsons ghosted through a gap and darted clear to open her Los Angeles account.

Flood forced the ball free in a tackle, and also pinned Japan back with a kick for Parsons to chase. Vicky Elmes Kinlan proved tough to bring down on the right, and nice hands from Parsons and Burns teed up Kinghan to go over to the right of the posts.

Japan counter-rucked to win possession back off the restart, and when they came back to attack towards the left corner, Chiharu Nakamura did superbly well to slip down the narrow side and reach over without putting a foot in touch.

Parsons lifted Ireland by reeling in Hara with a textbook try-saving tackle and then a poach. Higgins responded to that by cleverly stepping inside two defenders and dashing downfield to put seven points between the sides.

Reilly positioned herself in the ideal place to collect the breaking ball from the restart, and she showed a clean pair of heels to her chasers. Higgins topped it off with her third successful conversion to widen the winning margin to 14 points.

You can watch all of the HSBC SVNS Series matches for free on RugbyPass TV, while there will be coverage of Ireland’s progress in California across the new @Ireland7s social media channels, and in our Ireland Sevens hub: irishrugby.ie/ireland7s.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC SVNS Series – Los Angeles 7s, Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, Friday, March 1-Sunday, March 3, 2024):

Megan Burns (Blackrock College RFC)
Alanna Fitzpatrick (Portarlington RFC/Blackrock College RFC)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC)
Katie Heffernan (Railway Union RFC)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC)
Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC)
Lucinda Kinghan (Railway Union RFC)
Vicky Elmes Kinlan (Wicklow RFC)
Emily Lane (Blackrock College RFC)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Lucy Rock (Wicklow RFC) (capt)
Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC)

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC SVNS Series – Los Angeles:

Friday, March 1 –


AUSTRALIA 31 IRELAND 0, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Maddison Levi 3, Isabella Nasser, Faith Nathan; Cons: Tia Hinds 3
Ireland: –
HT: Australia 19 Ireland 0

Team: Béibhinn Parsons, Stacey Flood, Eve Higgins, Emily Lane, Lucy Rock (capt), Megan Burns, Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

Replacements used: Erin King, Kate Farrell McCabe, Aoibheann Reilly. Not used: Katie Heffernan, Lucinda Kinghan.

Day 1 Round-Up: Captain Rock Injured During Ireland Women’s LA 7s Opener

Saturday, March 2 –


FRANCE 21 IRELAND 5, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: France: Tries: Anne-Cécile Ciofani, Camille Grassineau, Jade Ulutule; Cons: Caroline Drouin 2, Jade Ulutule
Ireland: Try; Eve Higgins
HT: France 14 Ireland 0

Team: Béibhinn Parsons, Stacey Flood (capt), Erin King, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Megan Burns, Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

Replacements used: Aoibheann Reilly, Kate Farrell McCabe. Not used: Katie Heffernan, Alana Fitzpatrick, Lucinda Kinghan.

IRELAND 26 JAPAN 12, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Béibhinn Parsons, Lucinda Kinghan, Eve Higgins, Aoibheann Reilly; Cons: Eve Higgins 3
Japan: Tries: Wakaba Hara, Chiharu Nakamura; Con: Hanako Utsumi
HT: Ireland 12 Japan 7

Team: Béibhinn Parsons, Stacey Flood (capt), Lucinda Kinghan, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Megan Burns, Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

Replacements used: Katie Heffernan, Aoibheann Reilly, Erin King, Alana Fitzpatrick. Not used: Kate Farrell McCabe.

Sunday, March 3 –


NEW ZEALAND v IRELAND, Dignity Health Sports Park, 10.36am local time/6.36pm Irish time