We’ll be spending a bit more time on Sevens Rugby this summer with Ireland Men and Ireland Women both involved in Olympic Qualification and with an All Ireland Sevens Competition kicking off at the end of the month. 

In this article we’ll be looking at the Ireland Women Sevens side and we’ll start with a recap of their performance last weekend in the Canadian leg of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Langford. 

LANGFORD 7S WRAP

It was a comparatively young side that Ireland sent to Langford under the guidance of 7s Coach Stan McDowell and it contained two Ulster players in Brittany Hogan and Claire Boles.

There was a core of five experienced players including the 19 year old playmaker Eve Higgins who amassed 53 World Series matches by the end of the tournament. Higgins was joined by, top scorer, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (107), Aoife Doyle (53), Hannah Tyrell (78) and Louise Galvin (70). (Appearances in brackets.)

Eve Higgins has become a key player for Ireland 7s. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

They were joined by a core of 20 year olds in Brittany Hogan (21), Anna McGann (25), Emily Lane (16), Claire Boles (30) and Katie Heffernan (28) with 23 yer old Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (46) and19 year old Megan Burns (9) making up the twelve player squad. 

Day 1

Ireland were placed in Pool A for Day 1. It was a tough group containing, defending series Champions, Australia, home side and winners of the previous leg, Canada, and Brazil who had just won core team status for 2020. 

It was a tough opening day for Ireland who recorded one win from three games, the results and Ireland scorers shown below:

Australia 33 Ireland 5
Try: Hannah Tyrrell

Canada 22 Ireland 5
Try: Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe

Ireland 32 Brazil 7
Try: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (2), Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird, Anna McGann, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell. Con: Eve Higgins.

The win against Brazil wasn’t enough for them to progress to the Cup competition on day two with Ireland dropping to the bottom four Challenge Shield competition for the first time this season. 

Day 2

Day 2 got off to a poor start with a loss to China in the Shield Semi Final. This left Ireland with an 11th place play of game where they faced Brazil for the second time. 

They finished their tournament with a resounding win against the Brazilians but it would be regarded as a disappointing tournament by the Irish side.  The results and scores below: 

China 19 Ireland 12 (Challenge Shield Semi Final) 
Try: Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe (2). Con: Eve Higgins

Ireland 42 Brazil 5 (11th Place Play-Off)
Try: Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe 3, Anna McGann 2, Eve Higgins, Aoife Doyle. Cons: Eve Higgins 3, Hannah Tyrrell.

Brittany Hogan in action for Ireland against Brazil.

Brittany Hogan summed up the tournament for The Front Row Union,

We came home disappointed with our performance.

When we had the ball, we didn’t execute our game plan and then gave it back due to errors. It’s inevitable that a team will score against us if we keep giving them the ball. 

Our inaccuracies cost us over the weekend but we will continue to grow and learn from this and we’ll look to finish the World Series on a high that we can take to the Olympic qualifiers. 

It’s a fair summary, our reading of the games was that the young Ireland side were a bit over enthusiastic in possession, taking too much contact rather than looking for support. 

However, generally I liked the makeup of this team. It contained more ball players and with a bit more experience and calming down a bit they will improve quite rapidly. 

The Final Round. 

It’s likely that Ireland will start to pull together the team for the Olympic qualifiers in the next round in Biarritz on 15 – 16 June, so there are likely to be a few changes but with experienced players Ashleigh Baxter and Stacy Flood long term injuries the only certainty to return to the squad is captain Lucy Mulhall . 

Outside that it’s anyone’s guess.  The Ireland management team have had a look at 18 players this season and six of those are going to miss out on selection. 

The stats on the players used this season, along with their all time stats, are shown below. 

Ireland Women 7s
2019 Sevens Series
Players Used
R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 All Time Stats 2019 Stats
Pld Pts Try Pld Pts Try
Eve Higgins l l l l l   53 97 17 29 82 0
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe l l l l l   107 400 80 28 155 31
Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird l l l l l   46 25 5 27 15 3
Aoife Doyle l l l l l   53 45 9 24 25 5
Lucy Mulhall l l l l     103 331 20 23 82 3
Hannah Tyrell l l l l l   78 72 14 23 42 8
Louise Galvin   l l l l   70 90 18 21 20 4
Anna McGann   l l l l   25 20 4 21 20 4
Brittany Hogan   l l l l   21 5 1 21 5 1
Emily Lane     l l l   16 5 1 16 5 1
Audrey O’Flynn l l l       74 55 11 15 0 0
Claire Boles l     l l   30 5 1 14 0 0
Ashleigh Baxter l l         87 25 5 12 10 2
Stacy Flood l l         90 120 24 9 10 2
Megan Burns       l l   9 0 0 9 0 0
Katie Heffernan l       l   28 20 4 6 5 1
Katie Fitzhenry l           58 35 7 6 0 0
Beibhinn Parsons     l       3 5 1 3 5 1

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