Ireland’s women’s Sevens players given best possible run into Olympic repechage

‘Now we’re in the World Series it gives us a chance to compete against the best’

Ireland’s women’s Sevens players can look forward to almost 12 months of tough international rugby to prepare for their Olympic Qualifying tournament next summer.

Making the final of the Qualifiers in UCD at the weekend, where they lost to Japan in the final, earns Ireland entry into the 2016 World Series, the best possible run into the Olympic repechage tournament, which is their only route into the two-day Olympic event at Rio 2016.

Coach Anthony Eddy knows it's another step up to face the strongest Sevens teams in the world over a six-tournament run-in to the repechage but Ireland has put itself in the best possible position to attain the Olympic dream.

The 2016 World Series hasn’t been listed yet but this year’s tournaments were in Dubai, Brazil, USA, Canada, England and Netherlands.


"Now we're in the World Series it gives us a chance to compete against the best in the world and measure ourselves against other teams such as Russia, who will be a huge threat," said Eddy. "Russia has been playing in the World Series for a number of years.

“We earned our place in the repechage last month in Lisbon and now we have around 12 weeks preparation for the first event in Dubai in December. It finishes in May with the Olympic tournament in June.”

It is the first time Women's Sevens will appear on the Olympic Schedule. More attractive than the 15s game to the International Olympic Committee because of its greater global spread of teams and the fact there are fewer players, makes it better for the event, which is grappling with giganticism.

New Zealand, Canada, Australia, England, USA and Russia are among the best in the World and although Ireland will face a considerable challenge, the coach believes a Rio ticket is not beyond them.

“I think as a result of what the girls achieved over the weekend in UCD we can go to the Olympic repechage next year feeling positive and I think that would be the mindset of the players as well. It will certainly be a step up but if we want to be successful we have got to play in the World Series. We need that sort of competition to be able to measure ourselves against those teams.”

Irish captain Lucy Mulhall led Ireland to an inspired semi-final win over South Africa for the Springboks only defeat of the weekend before narrowly losing to unbeaten Japan.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times