Women’s Six Nations: Hannah Tyrrell surprised at Sevens furore

Hannah Tyrrell didn’t expect the controversy that unfolded with the IRFU’s decision to divert her and two other players from Six Nations and towards Sevens duties last month. But she can see the upside to all that fuss, too.
Women’s Six Nations: Hannah Tyrrell surprised at Sevens furore

The union’s performance director David Nucifora went public with his dissatisfaction at some of the “over-the-top” reaction that followed news Tyrrell, Alison Miller and Sene Naoupu were being pulled from the side to face France in the 15s game.

Tyrrell seems to come from the school that believes all publicity is good publicity and maybe not least, in this instance, because France were defeated 13-10 in Dublin while the ‘Vegas Three’ concentrated on the World Series gig in Nevada.

“I suppose we weren’t really expecting that much media from it but myself and the two girls just put our heads down and concentrated on the task ahead,” she explained. “We didn’t pay too much attention.

“Look, any coverage of (women’s) rugby at the minute can only be a good thing and hopefully we get a bit more this weekend and everyone sees us leave everything on the field and get a win.”

Tyrrell and her two fellow transatlantic travellers have been drafted straight back into the 15s line-up by head coach Tom Tierney as the squad looks to maintain their Grand Slam chase against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday morning.

There were suggestions at the time of their departure to the States it wasn’t a popular decision among some of their colleagues - which would be understandable coming as it did so close to the game - but Tyrrell says it has been business as normal since their return to the squad.

“I wasn’t really talking to many of them, bar good luck messages as we headed off. The girls understand the position we are in. They realise we are contracted Sevens players and we have a job to do with Sevens.

“Look, they did fantastically against France while we were away and me and the other two girls are very proud of them. We’re just looking to get stuck back in again this weekend and help in any way we can.”

Tyrrell, Miller and Naoupu are hardly the first rugby players to swap one version of the sport for another but asking them to flit from one to the other at such short notice isn’t so commonplace. Tyrrell, for example, scored the bonus-point try for the 15s against Italy in L’Aquila, togged out for the Sevens in the USA and is now back on Six Nations duties. And all of that inside the space of just one month.

“The game is different in some ways but it is still rugby at the end of the day and it’s just about making sure when I come back to 15s I know the moves and positioning-wise and that. I find it really easy.”

Ireland Women (v Wales):

K Flood (Railway Union/Leinster); H Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster), J Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), S Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls), A Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht); N Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), M Healy (Glaswegians/Connacht); L Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), L Lyons (Highfield/Munster), A Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster); S Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster); ML Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster); C Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster), C Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), P Fitzpatrick (St Mary’s College/Leinster).

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