She's done it again! Miller hat-trick secures Sevens 1/4 final with All Blacks

Ireland put Japan to the sword but came up just short of an Aussie upset.

Alison Miller races in for one of her three tries.
Alison Miller races in for one of her three tries.

IRELAND HAD ALISON MILLER to thank after they reached the quarter finals of the China Sevens.

Playing in only their second world event after formation last summer Ireland, featuring seven players from the Grand Slam winning squad, put Japan to the sword, 33-0, in their final game.

Miller, who scored a superb hat-trick of tries against England in the Six Nations, sliced the Japanese defence to shreds and ran in another trio.

Jenny Murphy and team captain Claire Molloy were also on the scoresheet in a comfortable win.

Ireland will now face New Zealand in the knock-out stages of the cup at 2am tomorrow [10am local time]. You can follow the livestream here on Sunday.

Oh Canada

The opening match for Ireland in Pool B was against a dangerous Canadian team featuring the pacy Kelly Russell and Ashley Steacy.

Described by the Rugby Canada website as ‘plucky’, Ireland trailed 14-5 at half-time, with Lynne Cantwell dotting down for the team in green.

Canada’s strength in depth, a multi-faceted attack, cut loose in the second half and tries from Russell and Steacy bookended a score from Elissa Alarie. The match finished 33-5 and was a wake-up call for the Irish.

Australia were next up at the Guangzhou University Stadium and they hit the front with tries from Nikki Etheridge and Sharni Williams to lead 12-0 at the break.

Ireland, coached by Jon Skurr, came out sprinting after a short turnaround and Murphy scored her second try of the tournament. Claire Keohane added the extras but no further scores were forthcoming and the Aussies held on, 12-7.

A place in the secondary Bowl competition looked the likely outcome unless Ireland could produce a comprehensive victory.

They did just that and, not for the first time, it was their flying winger, Miller, that made the difference.

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Patrick McCarry

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