The Ireland Women’s Sevens make their return to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this weekend after the Christmas break. Ireland will compete in the first ever women's World Series event held on New Zealand soil.
The tournament takes place at the FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday, January 25th and Sunday, January 26th.
The New Zealand Sevens Series is the third combined leg of the season, after the Irish women finished 10th and 11th respectively, at the back-to-back series’ in Dubai and Cape Town. Following the Series in New Zealand, the Sevens team will head to Sydney for the next one.
The Girls In Green have been drawn in Pool C alongside Canada and European rivals France and Spain.
Ireland who are currently ranked 10th in the World Series standings, will get their campaign underway against Canada on Saturday, January 25th (8.52pm Irish time)
The action will be live on Sky Sports Action.
Ireland Women’s Sevens Head Coach Stan McDowell has been boosted by returning players. Lucy Mulhall has returned to fitness to lead the side, while Stacey Flood is also included in the travelling squad.
Also included are the Munster quartet of Louise Galvin, of UL-Bohemian, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Railway Union, Emily Lane, Mallow RFC, and Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (Old Belvedere).
Lucinda Kinghan and Anna McGann have also been added to the squad after the pair featured for the Ireland Women’s Development team at the Dubai Invitational tournament last month.
Speaking ahead of their departure, Eddy the IRFU Director of Women’s and Sevens Rugby, said: “The Hamilton tournament is ruthless with no quarter-finals so the Pool matches mean everything and can put you directly into a semi-final.”
“The teams have prepared well and are confident of a good performance and are certainly looking for semi-final positions in Hamilton.”
“It is great to have the experience of Lucy and Stacey back in the Women’s team and their contribution to the team’s performance will be of great value.”
The Sevens series clashes with the opening few games of the Six Nations. The squad will return for the second home game against Wales and some players might feature if selected.
This promises to be an exciting few weeks for the Sevens squad who tend to display their best performances in the Southern Hemisphere.
Ireland Women's Squad (New Zealand 7s)
Kathy Baker (Blackrock/Leinster)
Megan Burns (Tullamore/Leinster)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)
Brittany Hogan (DCU/Ulster)
Lucinda Kinghan (DCU/Ulster)
Emily Lane (Mallow/Munster)
Anna McGann (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster)(captain)
Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (Old Belvedere/Munster)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Women’s Match Schedule:
Friday, January 25
Ireland v Canada, FMG Stadium Waikato - 8.52pm Irish time
Ireland v France, FMG Stadium Waikato -2.08am Irish time