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Ireland’s struggles in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series continued in Hamilton, New Zealand  with an 11th place finish.

The women’s team failed to win a pool match but finished the tournament with a win against Brazil in the 11th Place Play off.

We asked Ulster speedster Holly Brannigan to have a look at the matches as she recovers from injury and you can read Holly’s reports below.

POOL C CANADA 24 IRELAND 7

Canada were first on the scoreboard with Brittany Benn crossing for a try, converted by Ghislaine Landry.

Ireland hit back almost immediately with Hannah Tyrrell crossing for Lucy Mulhall to convert. However Kaili Lukan crossed on the stroke of half time to give Canada a 12 – 7 lead at the break.

Canada pulled away in the second half with Charity Williams crossing before Lukan added her second. Landry converted one to give Canada a 24 – 7 win.

POOL C FRANCE 35 IRELAND 7

It was a high tempo start by the French.  A line out throw by Ireland was deemed not straight,  the French capitalize from the scrum with fast feet and a first try from Izar who converted her own score.

Handling error by Ireland at the restart handed possession to the French and  a dummy and step secure  Bertrand a converted try. before Izar takes an outside line to add a third converted try before break for a 21 – 0 lead.

Ireland struggle with possession but looked dangerous on the ball with Eve Higgins gaining valuable meters. but no end product and France capitalize on an overlap for Guerin to secures a fourth for the French.

In the closing minute, quick hands and a switch from Kathy Baker to Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe pulls one bak for Ireland, converted by Lucy Mulhall.

However,  late break after the hooter give France the final say despite an incredible chase down from Mulhall. France 35 Ireland 5

Pool C SPAIN 14 IRELAND 7

The teams were evenly matched throughout first half with both sides having chances. Wasn’t until the seventh minute was played that replacement Maria Garcia Gala put a try on the scoreboard for Partica Garcia to convert.

The duo repeated the the feat early in the second half to give Spain a 14 – 0 lead.

Ireland came back fighting in the 2nd half although Louise Galvin’s last minute try, converted by Mulhall, wasn’t enough to claim a victory in Pool C with Ireland dropping into the bottom four play offs.

11th PLACE IRELAND 26 BRAZIL 19

Ireland earned a hard fought 29-11 victory after a speedy start by Brazil.

Cerullo spotted a mismatch in the opening minute to to start the scoreboard ticking over.

The Irish bit back with Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe striking through the middle for Mulhall to convert. However, Brazil restored their lead with a converted try by Bianca Silva.

A good display of hustle defense by Brazil denied Ireland’s Eve Higgins on the outside leaving Ireland trailing 14 -7 at half time.  The Irish needed to come out strong to secure an 11th place finish.

Mulhall was the answer in the opening seconds of the 2nd half going the length, shortly followed by Hannah Tyrrell cutting a short line to add another 5. Silva hit back for Brazil to leave the scores tied on the hooter.

Up stepped youngster Megan Burns who bagged the winning score off a clever switch play by Galvin.

Who did what?

It’s been a difficult season for the Women’s Sevens side and this is the third tournament they have finished in the bottom three.

They will have been particularly disappointed to have lost out to close rivals Spain and Brazil remain the only side they have defeated this season.

Their overall record for the four legs of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series are shown below.

WINS POINTS
W L % PF PA PD
3 14 18% 194 462 -268

However, it’s fine margins in this game and it won’t take much to turn their season around.

In Hamilton, Ireland notched up 47 points with the following scorers.

  • Lucy Mulhall 17 pts (1T 6C)
  • Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe  10 pts (2T)
  • Hannah Tyrrell 10 pts (2T)
  • Megan Burns 5 pts (1T)
  • Louise Galvin 5 pts (1T)

Plugging these into their World Series stats for this season we get the following.

Player Club Games Tries
Points
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe Railway Union 16 10 50
Eve Higgins Railway Union 17 4 40
Lucy Mulhall Rathdrum 9 1 29
Hannah Tyrrell Old Belvedere 17 5 25
Louise Galvin UL Bohemian 17 4 20
Megan Burns Tullamore 16 2 10
Emily Lane Mallow 17 1 5
Katie Fitzhenry Blackrock 17 1 5
Kathy Baker Blackrock 16 1 5
Anna Doyle Tullow 7 1 5
Brittany Hogan DCU 12 0 0
Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird Old Belvedere 10 0 0
Stacey Flood Railway Union 9 0 0
Claire Boles Railway Union 7 0 0
Katie Heffernan Mullingar 3 0 0
Anna McGann Old Belvedere 0 0 0
Lucinda Kinghan DCU 0 0 0

Onwards to Sydney

The same extended squad of 14 players will be competing in Sydney this weekend, though at the time of writing the match day squad of 12 has yet to be announced.

Extended Squad: Kathy Baker, Megan Burns, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Katie Fitzhenry, Louise Galvin, Eve Higgins, Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Anna McGann, Lucy Mulhall (C), Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird, Hannah Tyrrell.

I would expect the two unused players from Hamilton, Anna McGann and Lucinda Kinghan, to get some game time this tine round.

Ireland are once again drawn in Pool C where they will face rematches with France and Spain with Australia replacing Canada. Pool schedule below.

Ireland v France – Saturday 1st February 12.20am UK/IRE
Ireland v Australia – Saturday 1st February 5.36am UK/IRE
Ireland v Spain – Saturday 1st February 11.13pm UK/IRE
Play-offs and Finals – TBC.

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