WXV3 Round 1: Ireland 109 Kazakhstan 0
The Ireland Women racked up a record 109-0 win over Kazakhstan in their first ever WXV match, with Eve Higgins and Mastercard player-of-the-match Béibhinn Parsons delighting the Dubai crowd with four tries each.
This was Ireland’s biggest ever score and try haul (17) in a 15s Test match, male or female, and comfortably beat the Women’s previous record victory of 73-3 against Scotland when they clinched the 2015 Six Nations title.
The flurry of points, with ten different try scorers and Dannah O’Brien and Nicole Fowley both slotting over six conversions, saw Scott Bemand’s coaching tenure get off to an impressive start in the desert heat.
The strength of the opposition must be taken into account, with Kazakhstan struggling to fire a shot and suffering two second-half yellow cards, but Ireland continued to dominate with Eimear Corri, Megan Collis and Sarah Delaney all coming on to make their debuts.
18-year-old hooker Delaney crossed for the penultimate try from a barnstorming maul which originated on Kazakhstan’s 22-metre line, and she was embraced by her new team-mates in the biggest celebration of the night.
Co-captain Sam Monaghan commented after the game, "When Sarah (Delaney) came on and scored that forward try, I had tears in my eyes, just with what we've been through the last six months."
"It is taking a turning point and I know everybody is on a different journey here, but the new girls are coming in and bringing us that next level up. I'm proud of everyone buying into this new training identity and this new squad."
From Christy Haney’s opening try after just 103 seconds, Bemand’s side had control of the game with a superior scrum, speed and strength in their carries, and good direction from their half-backs, including some well-placed tactical kicks from O’Brien.
Returning Sevens star Higgins was especially influential, winning turnovers and pocketing two classy first half tries, while Méabh Deely, Linda Djougang, Parsons, Molly Scuffil-McCabe and Grace Moore also crossed to tee up a 50-0 half-time lead.
Kazakhstan were 78 points in arrears by the hour mark, with their captain Karina Sazontova and Ann Chebotar’s sin-binning being ruthlessly punished. Higgins, who shifted out to the wing, bookended the closing half with two more tries.
Aoife Dalton bagged a brace of her own, Parsons’ finishing skills saw touch down three times in 14 minutes, and Brittany Hogan and newcomer Delaney were rewarded with their first 15s international tries.
Ireland are top of the WXV3 table after the opening day, sitting on five points with second-placed Fiji also claiming maximum points in a 67-13 triumph over Colombia. The girls in green face the South American outfit in the second round on Saturday next week.
IRELAND 109 KAZAKHSTAN 0, The Sevens Stadium Pitch 2
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Christy Haney, Méabh Deely, Eve Higgins 4, Linda Djougang, Béibhinn Parsons 4, Molly Scuffil-McCabe, Grace Moore, Aoife Dalton 2, Brittany Hogan, Sarah Delaney; Cons: Dannah O’Brien 6, Nicole Fowley 6
HT: Ireland 50 Kazakhstan 0