Women's Sevens
5 0
12 5
Women's Sevens  @ The Sevens Stadium
Dubai Sevens
  Amy Perrett (AUS)
World Rugby TV


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Ireland pressured the Women's Eagles Sevens at Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens Thursday in its first appearance on the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series since May 2014 and came away with a 12-5 victory.

Richelle Stephens scored her first career Series try in her first appearance on the circuit to account for Jules McCoy's team's only points of the Pool B encounter. The Eagles will continue their campaign at 7he Sevens against Fiji, which defeated Canada in the opening match of the tournament, at 6:38 a.m. ET.

Despite Ireland's kickoff falling easily into the arms of Alev Kelter, the U.S. quickly turned over possession with a forward pass. The scrum was narrowly kept by Ireland, which stayed inside the Eagles' half with or without the ball for all 420 seconds of the first half.

The speed of Lauren Doyle, Kristen Thomas, and Nia Williams - all in the starting seven - was contained by the pacey Alison Miller, who opened the scoring. Following a Doyle run cut short by a penalty, Miller took a wide route around Series debutant Jane Paar and dotted down in-goal out of the reach of Doyle. Lucy Mulhall missed the conversion to keep the lead at five points, 5-0.

When Ireland was not making its one-on-one tackles, the Eagles were hurting their own attack with ball-mishandling and penalties. As the halftime whistle drew closer, the U.S. got close to breaking out of its own half, only to turn over the ball in the breakdown at the 10. The Eagles decided against a final attack when Ireland was penalized in the dying seconds of the opening frame to regroup at the break.

Within seconds of the Eagles' second-half restart, Ireland's Megan Williams caused distress with a run into the attacking half of the pitch and drew a penalty. Before the U.S. had time to think of retreating the required 10 meters, Kelter was forced into making a tackle. For her efforts in stopping a potential try-scoring play, the Eagle was shown a yellow card.

The Eagles worked diligently off of the ball to keep Ireland from crossing the try line and won a penalty inside their own 22, but the first pass from the tap was dropped by Paar to give Ireland an attacking scrum. The opponent secured possession in the set piece, and Louise Galvin did not need much room to dot down beside the posts. Mulhall nailed the conversion from in front to extend the lead to 12-0.

The U.S. returned to full strength following the try and received a momentum boost from Jessica Javelet, who nearly scored with one of her first touches, only to be impeded by an ankle tap. The Eagles supported each breakdown in Ireland's half and were rewarded in the 12th minute when Jillion Potter - back on the circuit for the first time since the 2013-14 Series - found Stephens on the wing for the try.

Stephen's conversion was wide to keep Ireland's lead at a converted try at 12-5, but a knock on the restart put the ball back in U.S. possession. The Eagles threatened through a few phases, but were ultimately undone by a penalty in the dying seconds.

The Eagles have two more matches in Pool B at Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens before Friday's knockout stages, beginning with a 6:38 a.m. ET date with Fiji. The opening leg of the 2015-16 Series can be watched live on World Rugby's website, while live match updates will be provided by @USARugby on Twitter.

Women's Eagles Sevens | v Ireland

1. Kathryn Johnson

2. Kristen Thomas

3. Jillion Potter (C)

4. Alev Kelter

5. Jane Paar

6. Nia Williams

7. Lauren Doyle

8. Kate Zackary

9. Kelly Griffin

10. Megan Bonny

11. Richelle Stephens

12. Jessica Javelet

Ireland | v USA

1. Audrey O'Flynn

2. Mariana Fanene

3. Stacey Flood

4. Megan Williams

5. Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe

6. Ashleigh Baxter

7. Katie Fitzhenry

8. Claire Keohane

9. Lucy Mulhall (C)

10. Eimear Considine

11. Louise Galvin

12. Alison Miller

Women's Eagles Sevens | 5

Tries: Stephens

Conversions: N/A

Discipline: Kelter (Yellow)

Ireland | 12

Tries: Miller, Galvin

Conversions: Mulhall

Women's Eagles Sevens | Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens

v. Ireland - L 12-5

v. Fiji - Thursday, Dec. 3 - 6:38 a.m. ET

v. Canada - Thursday, Dec. 3 - 9:13 a.m. ET