Stacey Flood touches down against Fiji. Alamy Stock Photo
Rugby Sevens

Disappointing day for Ireland at Hong Kong Sevens

Women’s team chasing Olympic qualification had two losses, while men’s side were defeated by South Africa.

IRELAND HAD A tough day at the World Rugby Hong Kong Sevens, with three losses from three games.

Ireland lost 17-7 to Fiji in their opening game after taking the lead through a Stacey Flood try.

Australia got the better of Ireland in the second match, 19-12, with Kathy Baker and Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe the try-scorers for Ireland. 

Ireland now face Brazil in their final pool match tomorrow as they continue to chase Olympic qualification under Allan Temple-Jones, who took over from Aiden McNulty as head coach this week.

Ireland came into the weekend in fifth position in the World Series, but with Olympic hosts France occupying fourth place, Ireland would qualify for the 2024 Olympics as things stand.

The final round of the women’s series will be held in Toulouse, France, in May.

The men’s team started in eighth position in the series with four rounds left. They lost their opening pool game to South Africa, 14-7, with Matthew McDonald getting Ireland’s try. They face Kenya and New Zealand tomorrow.

New Zealand cemented their status as favourites for the women’s Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, thrashing the hosts 50-0 before another dominant win over Great Britain.

The Black Ferns come into the season’s penultimate competition in imperious form, having won the last four tournaments, and scored 15 tries with no points conceded.

Four of those tries came from veteran Stacey Waaka.

Second-placed Australia are still on their tail in the series but it would take a breathtaking collapse for the New Zealanders to let the title slip.

This year’s tour also serves as Olympic qualifying, with the top four teams automatically heading to Paris 2024.

Under lingering Hong Kong drizzle, fourth-placed France – who automatically qualify for Paris – also made a good start to the three-day tournament in Pool C, downing Japan 38-7 before beating neighbours Spain 45-0.

Montserrat Amedee and Seraphine Okemba notched three tries apiece across Les Bleues’ two opening games.

But they are yet to play the USA, who sit third in the series standings and also notched two wins against the same opponents.

– © AFP 2023

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