Ireland Women’s Sevens win first ever HSBC SVNS Series tournament

Ireland Women's Sevens win first ever HSBC SVNS Series tournament


The Ireland Women’s Sevens team stunned hosts Australia 19-14 to win their first ever HSBC SVNS Series tournament in Perth this morning.

The Ireland Women become the first side from the Ireland Sevens Programme to win a World Series title, as Eve Higgins pounced for a decisive 13th-minute try in an epic 19-14 Cup final victory over Australia, the current table toppers.

Having lost to the Australians in their only previous Cup final appearance in Seville two years ago, Allan Temple-Jones’ Irish side gained revenge with stalwarts Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Lucy Mulhall both touching down during the first half.

Earlier Mulhall had starred with two tries during an impressive 31-7 semi-final defeat of Britain, despite Ireland previously having a poor semi-final record of just one win from seven at that stage of competition.

In Sunday’s final, captain Mulhall capitalised on Charlotte Caslick’s sin-binning in the final to squeeze in under the posts just before half-time.

Ireland lead 14-7 at half-time

Ireland’s 14-7 interval lead was erased when Teagan Levi evaded a diving tackle from Higgins for a breakaway ninth-minute effort, yet Mulhall, the HSBC player of the final, and her team-mates brilliantly held their nerve in a tense end-game.

They got back on the front foot, with Béibhinn Parsons accelerating through into the opposition 22, before replacement Aoibheann Reilly fed Higgins on the left wing and she stepped inside Isabella Nasser, shrugging off her attempted tackle to score.

Mulhall pushed her conversion narrowly wide, but it was not needed in the end as Australia knocked on from the restart. Reilly got the ball out of the scrum swiftly, allowing her skipper to kick the ball dead and crown a superb team performance.

“This is massive for Irish women’s rugby”

Ireland coach Alan Temple-Jones was almost speechless:

“Playing Australia is an unbelievable opportunity for the girls. We’re extremely chuffed … lost for words. We’ve had a good focus these last two weeks. We had a lot to improve on after Dubai and Cape Town … unreal.”

The Irish captain Amy Mulhall said the victory had been “a long time coming,” before adding, “It means a lot and we’ve been on a long journey. This is massive for Irish women’s rugby; we’ll be sure to celebrate.”

Ireland now move up to fourth position in the overall SVNS standings, with Australia still clear at the top.

Men win 3rd place play-off

As well as the Ireland Women adding to the silver (Seville) and bronze (Langford) they won during the 2021/’22 season, the previous match had seen the Ireland Men overcome Fiji 24-7 in brilliant fashion to win the 3rd place play-off.

After bowing out of the Cup competition to SVNS Series leaders Argentina, they took on the Fijians without injured captain Harry McNulty, and fell behind to a Josese Batirerega try.

The talismanic Terry Kennedy hit back with two touchdowns either side of half-time, and it was Ireland who produced the stronger finish with their bench becoming a crucial factor.

Lively replacement Gavin Mullin ran in a brace of tries in the 11th and 14th minutes to seal the result and delight the vocal Irish support in Western Australia’s capital city.

It is the fourth SVNS Series medal that the Ireland Men have won – they have picked up three since becoming a core team. Their first one was secured back in London in 2018 when they were bronze medallists as an invitational outfit.

Like their female counterparts, the most recent SVNS Series podium finishes for James Topping’s side were in 2022 when they earned silver in Toulouse, and did likewise in Dubai during the second leg of the 2022/’23 season.

The two Ireland squads have certainly hit the ground running at the start of 2024, giving themselves a timely boost as the countdown continues to the Women’s Olympic debut in Paris, where the Men will compete for the second time after their maiden qualification in Tokyo.

The 2024 SVNS Series continues in February and March with a double-header in Vancouver and Los Angeles.

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