Team FRU made their first appearance at the Midland Midnight Sevens last weekend. They may not have won a game (boo, hiss) but they did push three experienced sides all the way in the Women’s Open competition. 

Sponsored by Huge Rugby, the team certainly looked the part in their new kit designed by team captain Brittany Hogan and despite being the youngest team in the competition, by some margin, they produced an exciting brand of rugby as they set about Scottish select side Red Kites and AIL teams Railway Union and Cooke RFC Women with some gusto. 

The team, which was expertly managed by veteran Aishling O’Connell, contained only three players with regular AIL experience and the fact that they only lost two of the games by the odd try and one by a conversion was a remarkable achievement for the novice team. 

Team FRU: Hannah Beattie, Enya Breen, Ella Durkan, Brittany Hogan (c), Vicky Irwin, Neve Jones, Lucinda Kinghan, Kelly McCormill, Chloe McIlwaine, Andrea Stock.  Manager: Aishling O’Connell

You can view the galeries of matches in the Women’s Open section of the Midland Midnight Sevens by clicking on the slider below. 

2018-07-28 Cooke v Blackrock (Midnight 7s)
2018-07-28 Team FRU v Red Kites (Midnight 7s)
2018-07-28 Team FRU v Railway Union (Midnight 7s)
2018-07-28 Red Kites v Railway Union (Midnight 7s)
2018-07-28 Team FRU v Cooke (Midnight 7s)
2018-07-28 Cooke v Railway Union (Midnight 7s)
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Speaking on the adventure, Team FRU “Director of Rugby” John McMurtry stated;

I’m delighted with the performance of the players throughout the tournament. We pulled this team together to showcase the talents of some young and some inexperienced players and they all delivered. 

Two be fair, eight of the players have experience with Grand Slam winning U18 Interprovincial sides over the last two years and four of those have represented Ireland U18 in Sevens so there was a strong core of young driven players. 

However I wanted to test them on their own, without the comfort of senior players to fall back on. The bulk of these players have been leaders at age grade and, despite being a very young side, I wanted them to show me that they were capable of being leaders at senior level as well.

It was important that they made the decisions and they did it very well against experienced sides. I was very pleased that the Midnight Sevens competition was able pitch us against three quality teams who fielded a combined total of nine senior internationals. 

I was particularly pleased with the overall leadership role taken on by Brittany [Hogan] who captained the side. Brittany was excellent in pulling the squad together, selecting the individual teams and in deciding tactics.  She showed strong leadership throughout and the experience should hold her in good stead as she pushes for a place in Ireland senior sides, as I’m sure a fair few of these players will be doing in the years to come. 

As said above, it was the first outing for Team FRU and it’s something we want to build on over the years.

The Front Row Union currently offer select players financial support, tailored strength and conditioning programmes and sports massage treatment. 

We also offer full photographer and media training to players and students with five of our team recently involved in accredited media work at at major World Rugby events in Georgia, Paris and Narbonne. 

The photographer and media training is open to players and non players in full time education, if you would like to learn more about our media opportunities please contact