Eagles beat Ireland a second time for Final berth in France

CLERMONT-FERRAND, France - The Women's Eagles Sevens defeated Ireland for the second time at HSBC Clermont-Ferrand Sevens Sunday, advancing to the Fifth-Place Final with a 31-14 Semifinal victory at Stade Gabriel Montpied.

Five different try-scorers found the score sheet for Head Coach Richie Walker's side in its 18th win of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series. The season will end for the U.S. in the Fifth-Place Final against Fiji, scheduled to kick off at 12:12 p.m. ET on The Rugby Channel. The Eagles could move level with Fiji in the standings with a win.

Turnovers aplenty plagued the first few minutes of the opening half before Jessica Javelet was forced to chase Stacey Flood to save a try. Ireland lost possession to a knock a phase later, and Javelet took the ball over the line after another scrum and penalty in the Irish half for the 7-0 lead in the sixth minute. Cheta Emba knocked back the seventh-minute restart and captain Nicole Heavirland spotted a gap in the gain line to singlehandedly beat the defense for try No. 2 leading into the break, 12-0.

Whereas the first half started slow, the Eagles flipped the clinical switch from the first minute of the second frame. Emba proved elusive and powerful with ball in hand to spread the defense and Alev Kelter broke through to free Joanne Fa'avesi to extend the lead to 19-0. An Irish counter minutes later found Claire Boles in space created by an overlap for Ireland's first points, 19-7, but the Eagles would not allow the lead to dwindle by more than 12 points for the remainder of the match.

A well-worked team try starting with a penalty tap by Ryan Carlyle had the Irish defense out of sorts as Emba and debutant Sara Parsons kept the ball moving in contact for Mata Hingano's first career try, 26-7. Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe appeared to have the last say with an 80-meter try, 26-14, but the Eagles played past the in-stadium horn for Naya Tapper to fend her way to the try zone, 31-14.

The Eagles last played Fiji in an April Cup Quarterfinal knockout match in Japan, a game in which the Fijians came back from a seven-point U.S. advantage at halftime in their best campaign of the season. With a victory the Eagles would match Fiji on standings points. The match will kick off from Stade Gabriel Montpied Sunday at 12:12 p.m. ET, while supporters in the United States can watch it live on The Rugby Channel.

Women's Eagles Sevens | Ireland
1. Cheta Emba
2. Joanne Fa'avesi
3. Sara Parsons
4. Nicole Heavirland (C)
5. Ryan Carlyle
6. Mata Hingano
7. Jessica Javelet
8. Ashley Perry
9. Natalie Kosko
10. Tess Feury
11. Alev Kelter
12. Naya Tapper

Ireland | v. USA
1. Audrey O'Flynn
2. Hannah Tyrrell
3. Stacey Flood
4. Megan Williams
5. Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe
6. Claire Boles
7. Chloe Blackmore
8. Claire Keohane
9. Niamh Byrne
10. Kim Flood
11. Anna McGann
12. Katie Heffernan

Women's Eagles Sevens | 31
Tries: Javelet, Heavirland, Fa'avesi, Hingano, Tapper
Conversions: Heavirland, Kelter, Feury

Ireland | 14
Tries: Boles, Murphy Crowe
Conversions: Keohane (2)

Women's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Clermont-Ferrand Sevens
v. Ireland - W 12-7
v. Japan - W 33-5
v. New Zealand - L 19-14
Cup QF v. Australia - L 31-14
Fifth-Place SF v. Ireland - W 31-14
Fifth-Place Final v. Fiji - Sunday, June 25 @ 12:12 p.m. ET