Ireland top group at Women’s Sevens Olympic Qualifier
Wins over Trinidad & and Tobago, Portugal and China on opening day at UCD
Ireland’s Ashleigh Baxter is tackled by Chen Keyi and Yang Min of China during the Women’s Sevens Rugby Global Olympic Qualifying Tournament at UCD. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Ireland topped their group at the Women’s Global Sevens Olympic Qualification Tournament in UCD on Saturday. The home side won their three pool games to earn nine points and set up a meeting with Tunisia on Sunday in the first cross-over match.
Only the winner of the tournament earns a place in Rio in August with Russia and Spain the main threats to Irish hopes.
Ireland won their first game of the day against Trinidad and Tobago at a canter as the tries poured in for Ireland at a rate of one every few minutes.
Ireland led 21-0 at half-time and by that stage the outcome was in no doubt with nine tries finally going in over the 14 minutes play.
At that stage Ireland looked good to top their Pool C, Alison Miller grabbing four dot downs and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe grabbing two in the home side’s 51-0 win.
That put Lucy Mulhall’s side in good nick at the top of the pool with Portugal to play in the second match. This time Ireland got off to a nervous start and were pushed into their 22 in the opening phases.
Portugal, feisty and game, hit Ireland with a second try in the opening minutes of the second half, Ozorio getting in for 17-12. But Mulhall seized the opportunity to pick and go into space for Ireland’s fourth try and a 24-12 win.
The final match of the day was a 12-0 win over China with Murphy Crowe grabbing two tries and captain Mulhall with the conversion. It ends off the perfect start for Ireland
Spain, with 121 points scored, topped Pool B with three wins from three with Kazakhstan winning Pool D also with three wins. The strong Russians averaged over 50 points a match as they topped Pool A.