Wednesday 13 December 2017

Naoupu stars as Ireland Women claim Sevens Trophy

Ireland's Sene Naoupu
Ireland's Sene Naoupu

Nigel Whittaker

Ireland Women bounced back from a bitterly disappointing opening day at the Kitakyushu 7s in Japan to claim the Challenge Trophy but missing out on a top-eight finish on the world series is a blow.

It meant a ninth-placed finish overall and four more World Series points but an inconsistent weekend meant it was a drop-off from their recent exploits in Sydney and Las Vegas where they featured in the Cup quarter-finals as well as the top eight.

Ahead of the final two legs in Langford, Canada (May 27-28) and Clermont-Ferrand (June 24-25), Ireland remain ninth in the World Series standings and have a 10-point gap to make up on eighth-placed England (30 points).

Demolished

Anthony Eddy's side were outclassed on the opening as they were demolished 45-0 by Fiji before shipping 36 unanswered points to Australia and rounding off a miserable day by losing 27-10 to Brazil.

Ireland recomposed themselves well however to ensure that they finished the weekend with two wins to claim the silverware.

Sene Naoupu was crucial to their change in fortunes as her two tries helped exact revenge over Brazil on the second day of the tournament.

Audrey O'Flynn and Megan Williams also crossed the whitewash to give Ireland a well deserved 24-5 win over the South Americans.

Naoupu and Williams' scores against Spain in the Challenge Trophy final left the explosive pair with three tries each on the second day.

Stacey Flood was on hand to complete a comfortable 26-7 victory as Ireland left Japan with a trophy but plenty of regrets.

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