Director of Women’s and 7s Rugby Anthony Eddy has confirmed the Ireland’s 7s squad to travel to Japan to compete at the fourth stage of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Kitakyushu on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of April.
The team finished in 8th place at the Las Vegas 7s, the second successive tournament in a row that the side to made the Quarter-Finals.
Eddy has named a panel of 13 players and the side will be captained by Lucy Mulhall, and Ashleigh Baxter, Claire Keohane, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Sene Naoupu, Audrey O’Flynn, Hannah Tyrrell and Megan Williams are all once again included, having been a part of the squad in Las Vegas.
The new additions to the squad for Kitakyushu are Kim Flood, Louise Galvin, Katie Heffernan and Emma Murphy.
19 year old Heffernan could be set to make her World Series debut, having won her first senior 7s cap last summer at the Rugby Europe Grand Prix in Malemort.
Ireland will face Fiji in their opening game of Pool B, before meeting Australia and then will finish Day 1 against Brazil.
All three teams will be familiar to one another, having all been drawn into the same pool at the Sydney 7s, where Ireland defeated both Fiji and Brazil on Day 1.
The Japan leg of the World Series will see Ireland and the Fijians meet for the fourth successive tournament this season – the sides drew in Dubai, Ireland claimed the win in Sydney and Fiji evened the scores as they were victorious in Las Vegas.
Commenting on the squad announcement, Eddy said;
“We have an experienced side travelling to Japan next week for the fourth stage of the World Sevens Series.
We have managed to make the quarter finals in the last two tournaments, so that will be a target for us again in Japan. Hopefully we can have a productive Day 2 and achieve some really good results.
The players have worked extremely hard and have shown good improvement all year, so I am sure they are looking forward to the Japan tournament to build on their performances.
It will be a challenge however, as we face the ever-improving Brazil, Fiji, who we are very familiar with having met them regularly throughout the series and Australia, who are the reigning Series holders as well as Olympic Gold Medalists – but it’s a challenge the players are excited about and looking forward to.”
Ireland’s 7s Squad for Las Vegas 7s
Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke / Ulster)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians / Munster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union / Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union / Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians / Munster)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar RFC & Railway Union / Leinster)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum RFC / Leinster) (captain)
Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe (Railway Union / Munster)
Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls)
Audrey O’Flynn (Ireland Sevens Programme)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere / Leinster)
Megan Williams (Ireland Sevens Programme)
Emma Murphy (Railway Union / Leinster)
HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Kitakyushu 7s – Ireland Fixtures
Pool B – Day 1 – 22nd April
Ireland v Fiji – 11.14am (local) / 3.14am (Irish time)
Australia v Ireland – 2.20pm (local) / 6.20am (Irish time)
Ireland v Brazil – 4.42pm (local) / 8.42am (Irish time)
Play-Offs – Day 2 – 23rd April
For more information on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, visit here: http://www.worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series.