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Sevens up for World Cup bid with Ireland

Ireland 25 Italy 5

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Crowe flies: Ireland’s Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe scores a try against Italy

Crowe flies: Ireland’s Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe scores a try against Italy

�INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Crowe flies: Ireland’s Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe scores a try against Italy

As a law of unintended consequences, the one benefit of a pandemic has been the necessary transfer of Ireland's temporarily inactive but still salaried Sevens' players into the fifteens' format of the sport.

From Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe's sparkling two-try conclusion to her debut championship, through 21-year-old teak-tough Dorothy Wall's explosive impact and the ongoing development of flying wing Béibhinn Parsons and the emergence of a clever out-half option in Stacey Flood, there have been multiple personal stories which demonstrate how Irish women's rugby has been able to make the best of a bad situation.

Some, like those who champion the cause of Anna Caplice or the jettisoned Grand Slam heroine Claire Molloy may strongly object to the emergency cross-fertilisation, three years after many cried foul when the traffic seemed to be flowing in the other direction.

But with the fifteens the only - brief - show in town this past month, needs must and Ireland needed to get as many of their idle players out on the field of play.

For all the individual highlights, the stunning tries from the wingers and the outstanding physicality of the back-rowers, the truth is that the collective suffered too, with little cohesion between the players during this tournament.

They were good enough to eke out the expected victories but, even within games they dominated, there was often a complete dis-connect within the team. A bit like the situation that prevails within the sport off the field.

Saturday's win may have been comprehensive but it was not pretty, as coach Griggs admitted, but should he keep them together, they are more than capable of swatting aside Spain and Italy en route to the next World Cup.

And it's fair to say the Sevens' stars have grabbed their unexpected, if unwitting, opportunity as their tug of war between the codes is temporarily abandoned.

"It's been tough," says Tipp star Murphy Crowe, whose skills were obviously transferable to her finising skills, though her positional sense often did not.

"I hadn't played 15s since back in 2014, 2015. Coming back in in October I had a lot to learn but yeah 100 percent I'd love to balance it.

"Playing for your country is such an honour and if you can do it in 15s and Sevens why not?"

Wall concurred. "I hadn't really played 80 minutes of international rugby before this campaign so that was definitely an adjustment but I loved it."

Ireland: E Considine (E Higgins HIA 79; A Murphy Crowe, E Higgins (E Breen 73, S Naoupu, B Parsons (H Tyrrell 60); S Flood, K Dane (E Lane 62); L Peat (L Feely 64), C Moloney (N Jones 64), L Djougang (L Lyons 64); A McDermott (G Moore 63), N Fryday; D Wall, B Hogan, C Griffin (H O'Connor 13).

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√ Emily Scarratt's late penalty sealed England's 10-6 win over France and a third-straight Women's Six Nations title. Poppy Cleall's try put England in the box seat and coach Simon Middleton's side secured their eighth consecutive win over the French.


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