Eagles swoop for first silverware in Gulf Women’s 7s
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The 2017 Gulf Women’s 7s will go down as the first piece of silverware in Dubai Sports City Eagles’ fledgling history, after they swept aside Emirates Firebirds 29-0 in Saturday’s final. In less than half a season in existence, the Eagles have built a powerful women’s outfit and they proved themselves to be a cut above the competition over sevens weekend, conceding only one try throughout the tournament, in a 17-7 semi final win over Dubai Tigers.
The Firebirds, a side assembled predominantly from Emirates Airlines cabin crew, had done well to make it to the final and with their band of supporters in party mood, were determined to make the most of a centerpiece occasion on Pitch 2. But they had no answer to a suffocating Eagles defence and the powerful running of Hollie Murphy in the open field.
Murphy’s early double set the Eagles on their way, demonstrating calculated running lines to open the scoring off a switch move before outflanking the Firebirds cover defence for her second. When Mairead Commerford’s jinking run put the Eagles 17-0 up at half time the game was effectively settled as a contest.
Whilst the Firebirds struggled to generate attacking momentum, they could not be faulted for commitment in defence against physically imposing opponents. Scrum half Harieta Vilsoni notably dishing out more than one shuddering challenege and Emma Fulloon tenacious throughout.
But their dogged detemination was not enough to unsettle the Eagles, who enjoyed long spells of posession for most of the second period. With the assured boot of Alexandrea Cook keeping the Firebirds penned in, further scores eventually came for Bethan Middleton and Hannah Aspden to round off a complete team performance, firmly establishing the Eagles as the pre-eminent side in UAE women’s rugby.
DSC Eagles: Bethan Middleton, Hannah Aspden, Stephanie Mandy, Tara Cooney, Helen Amos, Mairead Comerford, Santi Stiglingh, Sandra Kunkler, Hollie Murphy, Alexandrea Cook, Kim Larssen
Emirates Firebirds: Emma Fulloon, Monique Ven der Bank, Katherine Maclay, Sydnee Chang, Harieta Vilsoni, Melissa Lee, Damaris Segeyano, Bronte Walker, Klaira Ufi, Jesie Taefinuu, Kirstin Kuresa, Audrey Kamali
Match Report: Huw Harrow