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Ireland Women Begin Sevens World Cup Qualifier With Brace Of Wins



Aiden McNulty’s side scored 15 tries and conceded none in beating Wales (62-0) and Germany (27-0), with Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe touching down six times and Anna McGann, captain Lucy Mulhall, Katie Heffernan and Eve Higgins running in two each.

Ireland’s final group game tomorrow against an unbeaten Czechia (kick-off 11.50am local time/9.50am Irish time) will decide who goes through to the quarter-finals as Pool A winners.

The four teams that reach the semi-final stage at Romania’s National Rugby Stadium will qualify for the Sevens World Cup, which takes place in Cape Town in September.

Ireland hit the front against Wales inside the opening minute, Claire Boles forcing a turnover penalty and McGann finished out wide from a Brittany Hogan pass.

Hogan did well to win possession from the restart, with Boles carrying hard up into the Welsh 22 before scrum half Heffernan fed Murphy Crowe for a simple finish in the right corner.

Heffernan, attacking off a scrum, took a return pass from Murphy Crowe to score in the fourth minute, with Mulhall adding a well-struck conversion from the right for a 17-0 lead.

Murphy Crowe soon broke a tackle to double her tally, and a superb solo break from Mulhall earned her a try just past the half-time hooter. She converted to make it 31-0 at the interval.

Mulhall and Murphy Crowe combined for Ireland’s sixth try early on the restart, and scrum possession provided the platform to sprung the latter over again on the left wing, with Kate Farrell McCabe supplying the assist.

Farrell McCabe took Ireland to the 50-point mark by converting Heffernan’s second try of the game, and neat work at close quarters from Higgins and Erin King sent McGann powering over with two minutes remaining.

Higgins, who had been sprung from the bench, had the final say when crossing for her fourth try after good hands from King and McGann had created the opportunity via a turnover in the Welsh 22.

Murphy Crowe quickly added to her tournament haul in round two against Germany. She won a turnover penalty and tapped it to breeze over after just 29 seconds.

The Germans had most of the first half possession, but struggled for territory. Turnover ball led to Mulhall crossing from close range in the fifth minute, throwing a dummy along the way.

10-0 became 15-0 as good running and passing from Mulhall and Emily Lane freed up Higgins to scoot over on the left and wrap up the first half’s scoring.

Germany gained ground early in the second period, but when the ball squirted out of their ruck, Mulhall was alive to it. She drew in a defender and released Murphy Crowe who broke clear to score from inside the Irish half.

Wicklow teenager King had a try disallowed for a tackle without the ball, before Murphy Crowe beat Laura Dervari to a loose German pass and offloaded out of a tackle for Hogan to complete the scoring at 27-0.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens European Qualifier, Arc de Triumf Stadium, Bucharest, July 16-17, 2022):

Claire Boles (Railway Union RFC)
Megan Burns (Blackrock College RFC)
Vicky Elmes Kinlan (Wicklow RFC)
Katie Heffernan (Railway Union RFC)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC)
Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC)
Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC)
Lucinda Kinghan (Railway Union RFC/DCU RFC)
Emily Lane (Blackrock College RFC)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC)
Lucy Mulhall (Wicklow RFC) (capt)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC)


Saturday, July 16 –


IRELAND 62 WALES 0, Arc de Triumf Stadium – Watch Replay
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Anna McGann 2, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 4, Katie Heffernan 2, Lucy Mulhall, Eve Higgins; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 4, Kate Farrell McCabe 2
Wales: –
HT: Ireland 31 Wales 0

Team: Anna McGann, Claire Boles, Brittany Hogan, Katie Heffernan, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Kate Farrell McCabe, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Subs used: Erin King, Eve Higgins, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Megan Burns, Lucinda Kinghan.

IRELAND 27 GERMANY 0, Arc de Triumf Stadium – Watch Replay
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 2, Lucy Mulhall, Eve Higgins, Brittany Hogan; Con: Lucy Mulhall
Germany: –
HT: Ireland 15 Germany 0

Team: Erin King, Claire Boles, Eve Higgins, Emily Lane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Megan Burns, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Subs used: Kate Farrell McCabe, Brittany Hogan, Katie Heffernan, Lucinda Kinghan, Vicky Elmes Kinlan.

Rugby World Cup Sevens European Qualifier – Fixtures/Results/Tables

Sunday, July 17 –


IRELAND v CZECHIA, Arc de Triumf Stadium, 11.50am local time/9.50am Irish time


Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


Sharks sign respected Full-back on 1 year deal



Former Gloucester full-back Jason Woodward joins Sale Sharks ahead of 2022/23 Premiership season 

Sale Sharks have signed versatile full-back Jason Woodward on a one-year deal ahead of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season. 

The former Bristol Bears and Gloucester man, who can also play on the wing and in the centre, put pen to paper today and will join Alex Sanderson’s squad ahead of their opening pre-season clash against Caldy RFC on August 19. 

Jason signed for Bristol from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes in 2016, before joining Gloucester the following year after Bristol’s relegation from the Premiership. He went on to make made 67 appearances and score 90 points for the Cherry and Whites. 

The 32-year-old represented New Zealand at U20 level but qualifies for England through his grandmother and was called into a training camp by Eddie Jones in 2017. 

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said: “After speaking with Jason it was clear he was still motivated to perform at the highest level, and he was keen for a move North to join the Sharks. 

“Jason is a proven Premiership performer who will add a great deal of quality and experience to what is a young squad here.  

“He has the ability to play in a number of positions and that’s a massive bonus for us with such a busy schedule ahead. 

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RFU Council votes in favour of change to gender participation policy



Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images
Press release issued by Rugby Football Union
  • The RFU Council has approved a new gender participation policy following extensive stakeholder consultation and thorough review of all available scientific evidence
  • New policy takes a precautionary approach by prioritising safety of players
  • RFU promoting opportunities for everyone to participate in rugby offering a range of formats and ways to get involved along with a confidential helpline 
  • RFU committed to working with World Rugby and UK Sports Councils to ensure further research is conducted and to reviewing the policy on a regular basis

Following an extensive RFU consultation, the RFU Council has voted in favour of updating its gender participation policy for rugby in England from the start of the 2022/23 season with 33 in favour, 26 against and 2 abstaining.

The RFU began a detailed review of its policy in Autumn 2020, this included a game wide survey receiving over 11,000 responses, extensive consultation with and listening to a wide range of independent experts as well as considering all available scientific evidence along with liaising with other sporting bodies.

The review and consultation concluded that detailed peer reviewed research provides evidence that there are physical differences between those people whose sex originally recorded as male and those as female at birth, and advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by testosterone and male puberty are significant and retained even after testosterone suppression. 
This science provides the basis of the new gender participation policy that concludes the inclusion of trans people originally recorded male at birth in female contact rugby cannot be balanced against considerations of safety and fairness.

The RFU Council has determined that until such time as new further peer-reviewed science is available, a precautionary approach is appropriate to ensure fair competition and safety of all competitors. Therefore, the RFU Council approved a policy change to only permit players in the female category if the sex originally recorded at birth is female. 

The RFU recognises this was a complex and difficult decision and the policy change was not taken lightly or without thorough and full research and consultation.  Speaking about the decision, RFU President, His Honour Jeff Blackett said: “I would like to thank everyone for the passion, time and effort that has been put in to consulting with us and informing this policy review.  Inclusion is at the heart of rugby values and we will continue to work with everyone to keep listening, learning and finding ways to demonstrate there is a place for everyone in our game.  We know that many will be disappointed by this decision however, it has been based on all the scientific evidence available.  Our game can be strengthened by everyone who is involved; be it in coaching, refereeing, administration or supporting and playing non-contact forms of the game.”

The RFU also considered the merits of a case-by-case assessment process, but in light of the research findings and work of World Rugby and the UK Sports Councils, and given the difficulties in identifying a credible test to assess physiological variables, this is no longer a viable option at this time and does not necessarily ensure inclusion.   World Rugby has a dedicated funding stream for research in this area and the RFU will continue to work with World Rugby and other stakeholders in promoting research to continue.

In the male category, players whose sex recorded at birth is female may play if they provide their written consent and a risk assessment is carried out.

The RFU is committed to supporting and encouraging opportunities for everyone to participate in rugby including non-contact formats of the game and through coaching, refereeing or volunteering roles.  If anyone would like to find out more about how rugby can be inclusive to them and would like to get involved they can contact the RFU via [email protected] . For anyone who wants advice on mental-wellbeing please see this link. 
The RFU has contacted the registered trans women players, who the revised policy has a direct impact on, to offer its support in continuing to encourage them to participate in the sport. The RFU will continue to listen and review its policy on a regular basis and welcomes all new research on this subject to inform these reviews.

For further information on the review please click here:
RFU Gender Participation Policy – frequently asked questions
RFU Gender Participation video

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Joe Simpson joins the Sharks Family!



Sale Sharks have signed former England scrum-half Joe Simpson on a short-term contract ahead of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.

The former Wasps and Gloucester man, who has one England cap and was part of his country’s squad for the 2011 World Cup, has put pen to paper on a six-month deal.

Joe made almost 250 appearances for Wasps after graduating from their academy in 2008, before joining Gloucester in 2019.

He had loan spells at both Saracens and Bath Rugby last season, but after being released from his contract at Kingsholm, he has joined up with Alex Sanderson’s squad for pre-season ahead of a busy Gallagher Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup campaign.

And the Sharks Director of Rugby says that with Raffi Quirke and Will Cliff currently sidelined with injuries, the 34-year-old will be a massive addition to the club on and off the field

Alex said: “We felt that we were short of a bit of experience in the scrum-half position and Joe brings that in abundance. He’s a proven performer who’s played at the very highest level for the past decade and more and we’re sure he will be a brilliant addition to what is a very young squad.

“Everyone who has worked with Joe speaks really highly of him in terms of his leadership off the field so we’re really excited to see what he can do here. Joe’s experience will be invaluable for our young players like Raffi, Gus Warr and Nye Thomas.”

Joe Simpson has been one of the Premiership’s most consistent performers over the past decade.

At international level, he represented England at U19 and U20 level, taking part in the inaugural Junior World Championship in Wales in 2008, as well as playing for the Sevens and Saxons teams.

Joe made his full debut for England during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand when he replaced Ben Youngs during a pool stage clash with Georgia.

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