Ireland Women 7s finished up as fourth seeds for the Rugby Europe Olympic qualifying tournament in Kazan, Russia, on 13 – 14 July after a win and two defeats on Day 2 of the Grand Prix tournament at Marcoussis, France.
Ireland kicked off Day 2 with a win against England (24 – 19) before losing out to France (12 – 14) in the Cup semi final. A much reduced squad went on to lose to Spain (0 – 19) in the third place play off.
It was a tournament that “probably” ticked most of the boxes as far as Ireland were concerned, though a few of the sides kept a card or two up their sleeves ahead of those all important Olympic qualifiers in a couple of weeks time.
With regards to the qualifiers, the main players are going to be France, Russia, Spain, Ireland and England and Ireland will be reasonably satisfied that they recorded wins against England and Spain (in Day 1) and pushed France all the way in that match.
They did, of course, lose to Spain in Day 2 and in both games of that mini series I think it would be fair to say that both of the losing sides were less than committed, opting to keep their powder dry for bigger games to come!
The match details and scorers are shown below.
England rushed to a 12 point lead with tries from Amy Wilson Hardy and Celia Quansah but Ireland hit back immediately after the second with Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe sprinting clear after a break by Stacy Flood.
Lucy Mulhall converted and a strong carry by Brittany Hogan at the restart saw Mulhall send Murphy Crowe over for her second try to level the game.
England pushed ahead midway through the second half with Megan Jones crossing but Ireland controlled the closing minutes with Eve Higgins and Stacy Flood both crossing to secure the win.
TRY: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (2), Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood. CON: Lucy Mulhall, Eve Higgins
The teams battle to a 7 – all draw at half time in a tight first half. Fanny Horta opened the scoring for France before Eve Higgins and Lucy Mulhall combined to see Higgins cross under the posts for an equalising try and conversion.
Ireland got in front in the second half after good work by Stacy Flood ended with Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe crossing, but the vital conversion was missed, leaving the score at 7 – 12 in Ireland’s favour.
Unfortunately for Ireland, France’s Chloe Pelle broke clear for the decisive try and conversion to give France a two point lead going into the final minutes. The result sending France through to the final and Ireland to a third place play off against Spain.
TRY: Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe. CON: Lucy Mulhall
There was not a lot to gain for either side between a third or fourth place finish but Spain went into this one in the more determined mood with Ireland choosing to rest a few players.
Spain’s Patricia Garcia took control of the game and set up Olivia Fresneda for their first score which saw Spain take a 7 – 0 lead into the break.
It wasn’t much of a spectacle but the experienced Garcea kept Spain on the front foot and they wrapped up the game with a late brace from Amaia Erbina.
Ireland will have left the tournament reasonably satisfied with their fourth place finish. The only worry is their conversion rate, which at 35% is the worst, by some margin, across the top six sides. It cost them against France and it does need improving.
However, they did confirm that they are genuine contenders for the Olympic qualifiers in a couple of weeks time in what should be an exciting tournament.
Ireland Women 7s Squad and points scored – Marcoussis 7s.
|Ireland 7s Women Scorers
|Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe||5||5||10||10||5||35|
|Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird||10||10|
Rugby Europe Grand Prix, Marcoussis – Final Rankings
|1 – FRANCE||6||6||0||0||18|
|2 – RUSSIA||6||5||0||1||16|
|3 – SPAIN||6||4||0||2||14|
|4 – IRELAND||6||4||0||2||14|
|5 – ENGLAND||6||4||0||2||14|
|6 – SCOTLAND||6||2||0||4||10|
|7 – POLAND||6||2||0||4||10|
|8 – BELGIUM||6||2||0||4||10|
|9 – ITALY||5||2||0||3||9|
|10 – WALES||5||2||0||3||9|
|11 – NETHERLANDS||5||1||0||4||7|
|12 – UKRAINE||5||0||0||5||5|
Note: England, Scotland and Wales are represented under Team GB for the Olympics so the teams going forward to the Olympic qualifiers are as follows – France, Russia, Spain, Ireland, England/Team GB, Poland, Belgium, Italy and Netherlands.