Women's Six Nations blow for England and Scotland games as Ireland’s Sevens stars depart

Ireland's Beibhinn Parsons. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Cian Tracey

Ireland are set to be without at least five players from last Sunday’s impressive win over Italy for their remaining two Women’s Six Nations games.

Preparations will soon begin for the Langford Sevens, which takes place at the end of the month, meaning the likes of Lucy Mulhall and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe will not feature in the Six Nations clashes against England and Scotland.

Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams had flagged this likelihood from early on in the campaign, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating, particularly after securing a morale-boosting win last weekend.

Mulhall, Ireland’s Sevens captain, and Murphy Crowe were two standout performers in the bonus-point victory over Italy, while other key players such as Beibhinn Parsons, Stacey Flood, Eve Higgins and Brittany Hogan were involved in the previous Sevens tournament in Seville, and as such, could also switch their focus back to the Sevens.

Given several of the Six Nations stars are contracted to the Sevens programme and also the fact that this is a Sevens World Cup year, that was always going to be taken into consideration regardless of how the Six Nations went.

“Likely we’ll be losing certainly five players from today’s group who are going to Langford, maybe six,” McWilliams said following his side’s 29-8 win over Italy.

“We’ll look at that to try get an early decision so we can plan. We have Tuesday and Thursday next week training and then we train Saturday at the HPC. I haven’t thought about it much right now, but it’s certainly something in the back of my mind.”

McWilliams will have to juggle his resources accordingly, and for all that it is far from ideal to be planning to face England, the best team in the world, and Scotland, it does at least provide the Ireland boss with a chance to blood more players in the hope of deepening the talent pool.

This is the only down week of the Six Nations and as the Ireland squad gets set to reconvene for a one-day camp this weekend, McWilliams will hope to have further clarity on who will and will not be available to finish out the Six Nations.

“It helps to have the break,” McWilliams added. “It’s a good time for the girls to decompress a little after a three-week window.”