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Disappointing End For Ireland Despite Promising Start At The Dubai 7s

Ireland kicked off their first leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai today and they were drawn in Pool C alongside Fiji, Canada and Spain. 

Anthony Eddy’s side got off to a perfect start this morning when they recorded a 20-12 victory over Fiji in the opening game of the day. Ireland got off to a blistering start with two very quick tries from the excellent Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe who had an easy run in after some excellent build-up play from Ireland and then Ashleigh Baxter dotted down soon after.

For the Fijians, it was clear their most dangerous player was Timaima Ravisa and she nearly scored at the end of the first half only for Murphy-Crowe to put in a last-ditch tackle. Katie Fitzhenry scored Ireland’s third in the second half which was completely deserved. Fitzhenry made an excellent break up the left wing only for her to pop up a few phases later on the opposite side of the pitch to touch down on a move which she started. Ireland then put the game beyond doubt with a fourth try from Stacey Flood who took advantage of some space up the blindside.

Fiji hit back with two late consolation scores through the ever-threatening Ravisa but it was too little, too late and Ireland secured a deserved victory.

Unfortunately, for Ireland, that was as good as their day got as they lost their final two Pool C fixtures against Canada and Spain.

Ireland failed to score any points against the powerful Canadian side who were truly a class above. Mistakes began to creep into Ireland’s play, especially at the breakdown where they were pinged on more than one occasion for holding onto the ball. This stifled any momentum produced by Eddy’s side and the Canadians made Ireland suffer through some excellent movement in midfield to cut through the Irish defence. The final score in this game was 31-0 and Ireland’s quest to beat Canada for the first time continues.

In the final game of the day, Ireland faced Spain and a try from Flood meant that Ireland were 7-5 up in the first half but they switched off at a crucial time to let Iera Echebarría put Spain back into the lead. Echebarría touched the ball down despite the attention of Eve Higgins who really should have dealt better with the situation.

It wasn’t as if Spain were a class above Ireland, but the Irish were making a lot of unforced errors, especially when reclaiming their restarts and like in the Canada game, failing to secure possession at the breakdown. Echebarría bagged her second try in the second half which put the result beyond doubt and the full-time score was 17-7 to Spain.

Ireland will now face Japan in the Challenge semi-final at 06:28 am GMT.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email [email protected] or on Twitter