Ireland Women’s Sevens Squad was confirmed yesterday for their trip to Langford, Canada for the fifth round of the Women’s Sevens World Series.

With Ireland Women’s rugby currently in preparation for the 2017 Women’s World Cup, in Dublin and Belfast in August, it is somewhat surprising that eight players have been withdrawn from the World Cup squad at this stage?

Stranger yet is that two of Ireland’s vital World Cup warm-up matches, against Japan, take place the following week, on 3rd and 7th June, and the final warm-up matches (that we are aware of), against Spain, are to be played on the weekend of 29th June, four days after the end of the French leg of the Women’s Sevens World Series where more likely than not the same players will be once again called up for Sevens duty!

Bearing in mind that the largely amateur Women’s XV programme only has limited weekends for training, it’s surprising that the coaches and management don’t see a problem with dropping the semi-professional Sevens players into and out of the World Cup squad this close to the World Cup. However, there is such a strong core of XV players left over from the last World Cup that this may just be one more instance of shoddy treatment that binds them even closer!

As for the Sevens tournament, there is not a lot to learn there. Ireland is pretty much guaranteed a 9th place finish irrespective of their performances in the next two rounds. Several of the other sides have made, or are expected to make, swathing changes to their squads whereas Ireland has brought in only two new players in Chloe Blackmore and Anna McGann and included uncapped Katie Heffernan for the second tournament in a row.

The team has been drawn in Pool C, alongside Australia, Fiji and Spain, all of whom are familiar opponents. The matches should be available online through World Rugby’s Facebook and YouTube feeds. The kick off times are as follows:

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS FIXTURES

FIJI v IRELAND
KO 19:14, Sat 27 May 2017

AUSTRALIA v IRELAND
KO 22:20, Sat 27 May 2017

IRELAND v SPAIN
KO 00:42, Sun 28 May 2017

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS SQUAD

Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
Chloe Blackmore (St. Mary’s/Munster)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar/Railway Union (dual status)/Leinster)
Anna McGann (UCD/Leinster)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster) (capt)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls)
Audrey O’Flynn (Ireland Sevens Programme)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

#SUFTUM