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Yellow Card Proves Costly As Ireland Women Lose Madrid Opener

Yellow Card Proves Costly As Ireland Women Lose Madrid Opener

Yellow Card Proves Costly As Ireland Women Lose Madrid Opener

Young forward Erin King drives hard at the Australian defence during Ireland's opening HSBC SVNS Grand Final fixture in Madrid ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

The Ireland Women’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) reeled in Australia with two first half tries, but could not keep pace with the second seeds during the closing half of an eventual 33-14 defeat in Madrid.

Despite well-crafted converted scores from Eve Higgins and captain Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe tying things up at half-time, a Stacey Flood yellow card proved costly as Australia accumulated 12 points during her absence.

Ireland’s HSBC SVNS Grand Final opener finished in disappointing fashion with Maddison Levi adding a late fifth try, meaning Allan Temple-Jones’ side are playing catch-up in Pool B ahead of Saturday’s crunch clashes.

Their focus now turns to bouncing back tomorrow against France, who were 36-7 conquerors of Fiji, at 12pm local time/11am Irish time (live on RugbyPass TV), before facing Fijiana in their final pool outing at 3.05pm local time/2.05pm Irish time.

Only the top two teams in each pool will advance to the Championship semi-finals on Sunday. The high-stakes, winner-takes-all Grand Final scenario was introduced for the first time this year. The other sides will contest the 5th place semi-finals.

Although this is the Ireland Women’s last stop on the global tour this season, the two upcoming legs of the Rugby Europe Sevens Championship will give them some more valuable tournament time together ahead of their Olympic Games debut in Paris in July.

Australia got off to a bright start at the home of Atlético Madrid, with Bienne Terita’s strong fend helping her to break free. Murphy Crowe brought her to ground a few metres short, but the ball was worked across to the right wing for Teagan Levi to crash over inside the opening minute.

Maddison Levi appeared to get her fingertips to the restart before it went into touch, yet the lineout was awarded to Australia and a razor-sharp move released their skipper Charlotte Caslick for try number two, and a 14-point lead.

In response, Ireland’s first real bit of possession saw a Flood kick work out well as scrum half Emily Lane was first to the ball. Australia infringed for a penalty, setting up the scrum platform.

With some smart attacking off the set-piece, Megan Burns flew up into the Australian 22 initially, Lane’s nicely-delayed pass putting Erin King hammering up hard on a straight line. She offloaded for the linking Lane to combine with Murphy Crowe who sent Higgins slicing in under the posts.

Australia sought a late reply before the interval, only for King to repel them with a fine turnover penalty. Off the subsequent lineout, Burns drew in the defence on a switch play, dangling an inviting pass back for Murphy Crowe to score from 25 metres out.

Flood knocked over the levelling conversion from straight in front, giving Ireland plenty of momentum to take into the second period. With the game tantalisingly poised at 14-all, a crucial moment came in the 10th minute.

Flood thought she was in to pinch possession at the breakdown, but referee Maria Latos penalised Lane for not rolling away quickly enough, and Flood saw yellow for not releasing the ball to Caslick, with the penalty marched forward and the Dubliner sent to the bin.

Teagan Levi took immediate advantage, evading the clutches of Béibhinn Parsons to reopen the seven-point lead. Her older sister, Maddison, duly opened her Madrid account off a 12th-minute penalty, before Flood’s return to the pitch.

Ireland’s execution were just slighly off late on, as the ball was turned over following an Aoibheann Reilly snipe down the blindside, and then fellow replacement Vicky Elmes Kinlan knocked on after Murphy Crowe had attempted to put her through a gap.

Their search for a late third try came up short, and instead it was Australia who mustered a breakaway effort with 16 minutes on the clock, as the long-striding Maddison Levi completed her brace to give her team a 19-point winning margin.

You can watch all of the HSBC SVNS Grand Final matches for free on RugbyPass TV or on TNT Sports, while there is coverage of Ireland’s progress in Madrid across the @Ireland7s social media channels, and in our Ireland Sevens Hub.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2024 HSBC SVNS Grand Final – Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid, Friday, May 31-Sunday, June 2, 2024):

Megan Burns (Blackrock College RFC)
Katie Corrigan (Old Belvedere RFC) *
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC) (capt)
Stacey Flood (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)
Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC)
Ashleigh Orchard (Cooke RFC)
Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC)

* Denotes uncapped player

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC SVNS Grand Final – Madrid:

Friday, May 31 –


AUSTRALIA 33 IRELAND 14, Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Teagan Levi 2, Charlotte Caslick, Maddison Levi 2; Cons: Tia Hinds 3, Teagn Levi
Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Cons: Stacey Flood 2
HT: Australia 14 Ireland 14

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

Replacements used: Aoibheann Reilly, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Ashleigh Orchard. Not used: Kate Farrell McCabe, Anna McGann.

Saturday, June 1 –


FRANCE v IRELAND, Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid, 12pm local time/11am Irish time

FIJI v IRELAND, Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid, 3.05 local time/2.05pm Irish time

Sunday, June 2 –