Hannah Tyrell Outlines The Biggest Challenges Facing Vikki Wall In Her Switch To Rugby Sevens

Hannah Tyrell Outlines The Biggest Challenges Facing Vikki Wall In Her Switch To Rugby Sevens
Alanna Cunnane
Alanna Cunnane

Former Irish rugby international Hannah Tyrell has outlined the biggest challenges facing ladies gaelic football superstar Vikki Wall in her switch to rugby sevens.

Speaking on the first episode of this season’s Hersport Energia AIL rugby show, the current Dublin footballer was able to pinpoint specific areas that may be the most difficult to come to grips with for the Meath woman within her new sport.

Having gone through that exact scenario herself, there’s possibly no one more in tune with what it takes than Tyrell.


“When I joined the sevens team in 2014 I had very little rugby experience behind me. There was a position in the IRFU that was the talent ID coach and his job was to go around to other sports and try and cherry pick players who he thought would do a job and I was taken essentially from GAA” she says.

The 2023 All Ireland winner went on to say that she believes “Vikki could do really, really well” within the sevens set up, especially given “she has all the attributes from a physical standpoint” when it comes to mobility and speed.


“She’s a big strong woman who’s well able to take a bit of contact, and she’s extremely fast as well” Tyrell adds.

“We’ve seen her fast with having to solo and hop. With rugby she’s not going to have to do that so we’ll see it even more.”

However, even with that conditioning advantage, there are still obstacles in Wall’s rugby path. Namely, the fundamental ball skills and increased contact nature of rugby that differ vastly in comparison to gaelic football.

“I think the biggest challenge for Vikki will be, can she get herself up to scratch with the skills that are required for sevens rugby? Can she understand the kind of theory side of the game and the awareness of how the game needs to be played and game management?” Tyrell says.

It’s a race against the clock for Wall in terms of becoming equipped with those qualities prior to the Olympic squad selection. 

Having made the leap to rugby in the middle of the summer just gone, it could even be perceived as a “very big ask” according to Tyrell, and one with “a lot of pressure” as well.

“If you haven’t got the right tackle technique and you’re going to be slipping off tackles, you’re putting pressure on your teammates to make those tackles and it creates opportunities for other teams there” she says.

“If you just don’t have an awareness of how the game needs to be played and the tactical side of things, which is quite difficult and it’s very different even to 15s rugby, that can have a huge hindrance for you…if you don't have a good passing game it affects the whole team.

“She’ll have to start taking tackles, which she’s never had before, she’ll have to start making tackles and that can have an affect on the body.”

Describing that her teammates and coaches will help her in that journey, Tyrell also stresses that she has no doubt “that given the time that she could go on to be a very good sevens rugby player”, and as a result of the team having already qualified for Paris 2024, the opportunity will be afforded to Wall to stake her claim for a spot.

“Ireland are under no pressure to qualify so they don’t need results so they can try out things, I look forward to seeing how she gets on” she says.

“It’s tough to have girls who have been in there for a very long time to potentially have others come in and try and take your Olympic spot, but at the end of the day it is a results driven and competitive game. 

We all want Ireland to do well and if she can help them succeed then why not?” Tyrell concludes, speaking to the ever escalating standards of elite sport.

The HerSport Energia AIL Rugby show is brought to you by Energia.

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