Ireland Women’s Sevens Head Coach Stan McDowell has named his 13-player squad for the second leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series season in Dubai next week.
Katie Fitzhenry and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe will co-captain Ireland as they travel to Dubai bidding to build on their eighth-place finish at the campaign opener in Glendale last month.
McDowell’s squad shows two changes from the HSBC USA Women’s Sevens, with Claire Boles and Brittany Hogan included, while Tullow youngster Anna Doyle retains her place having made her World Series debut in Colorado.
Murphy Crowe, who opened her try-scoring account for the season by crossing four times in America, provides a wealth of World Series experience alongside the likes of Fitzhenry, Louise Galvin and Hannah Tyrrell.
Ireland have been drawn in Pool B and will open their campaign against European rivals Spain on Thursday, December 5 at 2.50pm local time/10.50am Irish time, before further outings against Australia (9.22am local time/5.22am Irish time) and Fiji (2.12pm local time/10.12am Irish time) on Friday, December 6.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, McDowell said: "We look forward to the challenges of the next competition block, starting in Dubai, which includes back-to-back tournaments running alongside the Men’s series for the first time.
"With this also comes a new competition format with only the top four sides playing six games and the rest playing four, with points difference over the course of the tournament now the deciding factor for a team’s final placing.
"Our preparations have gone well, with the squad focused on putting in a strong performance in our Pool play starting with our day one opponents Spain, who we know well."
The Dubai Sevens is the first combined leg of the 2019/20 season with the Ireland Men set to compete alongside the Women’s team at a World Series event for the first time.
The action will be streamed live via the World Rugby website and you can keep up with Ireland’s progress in Dubai using the hashtag #IreW7s and on the Irish Rugby social media channels throughout the week.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SQUAD (Dubai 7s – Thursday, December 5 - Saturday, December 7):
Kathy Baker (Blackrock/Leinster)
Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
Megan Burns (Tullamore/Leinster)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Anna Doyle (DCU/Leinster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar/Railway Union/Leinster)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)
Brittany Hogan (DCU/Ulster)
Emily Lane (Mallow/Munster)
Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (Old Belvedere/Munster)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster).
DUBAI SEVENS IRELAND WOMEN’S MATCH SCHEDULE:
Thursday, December 5:
Ireland v Spain, The Dubai Sevens Stadium, 2.50pm local time/10.50am Irish time
Friday, December 6:
Ireland v Australia, The Dubai Sevens Stadium, 9.22am local time/5.22am Irish time
Ireland v Fiji, The Dubai Sevens Stadium, 2.12pm local time/10.12am Irish time
Saturday, December 7:
Women’s Play-Offs & Finals, The Dubai Sevens Stadium, TBC.