The announcement by Director of Women’s and 7s Rugby, Anthony Eddy of the Ireland Women Sevens squad for the second stage of the Rugby Europe 7s Grand Prix in Kazan, Russia this weekend, gives us a chance to catch up on what’s been happening recently with the sevens programme.
Over the last month the team has been competing on two fronts; completion of their participation in the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series and going through the first leg of the European qualification process for the 2018 Sevens Rugby World Cup.
The final leg of the Women’s Sevens World Series took place in Clermont on 25th and 26th of June and despite only winning one match the team finished in 8th place to confirm their participation in next seasons’ World Series, so all good there.
From an Ulster perspective Ashleigh Baxter was injured, so missed out on the final tournament, but she was replaced by Enniskillen RFC’s Claire Boles, who first came to our attention with the Ulster U18 side that won the Interprovincial Grand Slam last September.
Baxter was available the previous week for the opening round of the Rugby Europe 7s Grand Prix In Malmort but the Cooke player got injured in their final match as Ireland achieved a third place finish.
The Kazan 7s is the final tournament for the Ireland Women this season, and a high placing finish will see them qualify for next summer’s Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco. Going on form and pedigree they should comfortably finish in the top four but as far as qualification is concerned I believe they just need to finish either in the top four or above England or Wales.
It would be a genuine surprise and a major setback for the sevens programme if they fail to qualify.
Ireland Women Sevens Pool C opponents in Kazan are England, Sweden and Poland.
Ireland Women Sevens Squad for Kazan 7s.
Claire Boles (Enniskillen RFC/Ulster)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemian RFC / Munster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC / Leinster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union RFC / Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemian RFC / Munster)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar RFC / Railway Union RFC (dual status) /Leinster)
Anna McGann (Buccaneers/UCD (dual status)/Leinster)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum RFC / Leinster) (captain)
Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe (Railway Union RFC / Munster)
Audrey O’Flynn (Ireland 7s Programme)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere RFC / Leinster)
Megan Williams (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Ireland Women Sevens Grand Prix Fixtures
Pool C – Day 1 – 8th July
Ireland v Poland – 10:00am (local time) / 8.00am (Irish time)
Ireland v Sweden 12:45pm (local time) / 10.45am (Irish time)
Ireland v England 3.53pm (local time) / 1.53pm (Irish time)
The European Rugby Website is hard work to navigate but we’ll let you know if we find out if any of the games are going to be streamed or not. Chek our social media feeds nearer the time.