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7 players depart Ireland's Six Nations camp to return to 7s duty

Outstanding second row Sam Monaghan has also been ruled out of the England game.

Beibhinn Parsons, Stacey Flood, and Eve Higgins are back with the 7s.
Beibhinn Parsons, Stacey Flood, and Eve Higgins are back with the 7s.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND WOMEN HAVE confirmed that seven of their players have left Six Nations camp to return to duty with the Ireland 7s team.

Beibhinn Parsons, Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall, Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Anna McGann, and Brittany Hogan – who have all featured for Ireland during the first three rounds of the Six Nations – are now back with the 7s squad as they prepare for the next leg of the World 7s Series in Canada in two weekends’ time.

Furthermore, Ireland have confirmed a major injury blow ahead of Sunday’s visit to England, with outstanding second row Sam Monaghan ruled out due to injury.

19-year-old back row Aoife Wafer, who made her debut two weekends ago in the win over Italy, will also miss out after picking up an injury.

Head coach Greg McWilliams has called up seven players to his Six Nations squad, including the uncapped Leinster pair of Niamh Byrne and Alice O’Dowd.

Experienced centre Sene Naoupu has been recalled, with Laura Feely, Laura Sheehan, Mary Healy, Shannon Touhy also brought into the squad.

Losing a crop of players to the 7s circuit is undoubtedly a major blow for Ireland boss McWilliams ahead of the toughest test in the game, a visit to the fully-professional England, who have won 21 games in a row.

McWilliams pointed out that the Ireland 7s have an important schedule ahead in the coming months, while revealing that his 15s squad will go on a two-game tour this summer.

“David [Nucifora, the IRFU's performance director], Aiden [McNulty, the Ireland 7s head coach], and myself have been in regular communication over selection and we feel we have the right balance for this window, knowing that there are further development opportunities coming up for the XVs squad, with plans at an advanced stage for a two-Test Summer Tour in August, and the important [World Cup] qualification tournaments facing the Sevens programme over the same period,” said McWilliams.

“There are a number of players who have had to be patient during the first three rounds of the Six Nations and they now have an opportunity to stake a claim for the green jersey.

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“We have a good group of players in camp with us now, a nice mixture of experience and players who have impressed me during the Energia All-Ireland League season, and coming off the back of our win over Italy, are determined to finish the Championship with strong performances.”

 Ireland Women’s Six Nations squad:

Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Alice O’Dowd (UCD/Leinster)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)
Aoife McDermott (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Aoife Doyle (Railway Union RFC/Munster)
Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)
Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby)
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
Emma Hooban (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Enya Breen (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
Grace Moore (Railway Union RFC/IQ Rugby)
Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)
Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Laura Feely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)
Laura Sheehan (Exeter Chiefs/IQ Rugby)
Linda Djougang (ASM Romagnat Rugby/Leinster)
Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)
Mary Healy (Naas/Suttonians/Leinster)
Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury/Ulster)
Niamh Byrne (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht)(Captain)
Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
Nikki Caughey (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Shannon Touhey (Tullamore/Connacht)
Vicky Irwin (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby).

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