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British & Irish Cup 2017 Preview

Great Britain and Ireland will again go head-to-head in the British & Irish Cup on Saturday 16th September in Cork, Ireland.

Great Britain will be represented across six categories; Mixed Open, Mixed seniors (men 32+, women 29+), Men's Seniors (29+), Men's Open, Women's Seniors (26+), Women's Open.

Ireland came away winners in the 2016 British & Irish Cup, winning four categories to two, outscoring Great Britain 123 points to 85.

Follow the progress of the teams on Saturday 16th September via our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/trytagrugby and Twitter account at www.twitter.com/trytagrugby and via the hashtag #GBTagOnTour. 


Mixed Open - Coach: Alex Sadgrove

The Mixed Open used the Tri-Nations as an opportunity to blood a number of debutants who relished the experience and will be looking for a series win against Ireland.

Coach Alex Sadgrove said: “Having several debutants in our team we learnt the hard way of just how tough the international games can be.  

“Our main focus to work on was our attitude, we’ve tried to instil in our players that the attitude you bring to training and warm up is the attitude you will bring on to the field. Having addressed this main issue, our training sessions have since been sharp, focussed and everyone is ready to take on Ireland again and come away with the series win.”

Squad: Claire McAteer, Alana Hutton, Hannah Wilson, Florrie Hyde, Garnet Mackinder, Haylie-May Hields, Jenny Ainscough, Tom Entwistle, Guillaume Hammersley, Jake Dunley, Jake Powell, Steve Lloyd, Dave Wilkinson, Kyle Nish, Kasey Martin.

Mixed seniors (men 32+, women 29+) - Coaches: Craig Auchinachie & Andrew Davis

The Mixed Seniors will be looking to improve on their wins over Australia earlier this year having improved on defence in training.

Coach Craig Auchinachie said: “Although we got wins in both our games against Australia in July, we were disappointed not to get any wins against Ireland. Our team gained a lot from the games though and we have been putting what we have learned into practice.

“We have worked hard on defence in training and we have changed a few things in attack to give us more of an edge against Ireland. The squad are looking forward to the challenge and have been counting down the days until we get the chance to take Ireland on again.”

Squad: Adam Nash, Adric Mason, Andrew Davey, Breeda Mac Eoin, Craig Auchinachie, Hannah Duggan, Holly D-Nunn, Jodie Bijorac, Matt MacDonald, Miriam Howe, Moya Maginn, Orla McKenna, Rhys Davies, Ross Goodman, Sam Winter, Sophie Jones, Steve McDermott.

Men's Seniors (29+) - Coach: Matthew Picknett

Having played Ireland on several occasions in 2017, the Men’s Seniors know what to expect and will be looking to build on their experience gained during the Tri-Nations.

Coach Matthew Picknett said: “Training has gone well over the last few weeks and we're hoping to build on our success from the Tri-Nations. That said we know this will be a tough test.

“Both teams know each other very well having played each other eight times over the last year, GB coming out on top in seven and one match ending in a draw. Six of GB's wins were by a single point so we know that we'll have to work hard.”

Squad: Shun Tamura, Jay Beare, Alex Sadgrove, Steve Jermyn, Arron Lombardo (c), Tom Parsons, Ronan Farrell, Robbie Burroughs, Steve Leary, Tristan Ryder, Josh Pavlovec, Andrew Davies, Chris Prout, Ben Picknett, Matt Picknett, Billy Lyons

Men's Open - Coach: Steve Jermyn

The Men’s Open side will be hoping to improve upon their performance in Dublin, having changed their approach in training with the aim of improving in Cork.

Coach Steve Jermyn said: “The Men's Open squad felt like we underperformed in Dublin, we were fiercely competitive in every game and the solitary win against Australia was less than we felt we were capable of. We've taken a lot from the Tri-Nations and changed our approach in training, we are really looking forward to game time in Cork.

“We’ll have two debutants in Zack Akil and Michael Booth in Cork, making it ten players who have earned their first international cap this year. Dan O'Brien continues as captain.

“I’d like to send a massive thank you from the squad to James Baron and Ollie Greenhill who've been pivotal to our coaching set up this summer.”

Squad: Dan O'Brien (c), James Baron, Ollie Greenhill, Harry Young, James Dyer, Flo Hodgson-Tuck, Toby Forbes, Michael Booth, Nick Wilkes, Angus Furneaux, Jacob Banfield, Zack Akil, Tom Higgs, Will Powell, Michael Posso, Sam Read.

​Women's Seniors (26+) - Coaches: Murray Wilson & Shelley Lombardo

Having improved their composure in attack and with good game time in the Tri-Nations, the Women’s Seniors are hungry for success in Cork.

Coach Murray Wilson said: “We gave the Irish a hard time in Dublin and are now very hungry for victory in Cork. We had valuable game time together throughout the Tri-Nations and in recent weeks this has helped us sharpen our attack and focus on getting to the try line. Effort at training has been immense and the squad have become more composed on the ball.

“The Senior Ladies wear their hearts on their sleeves and play the game for each other. I know that for some, all they can think about is getting out on that field in Cork.”

Squad: Christina Liessem, Laura Sheehan, Tu Nguyen, Stephanie Geertsen, Lois Lau, Susannah Brown, Vicki Jackson, Rachael Joy, Katharine Draper, Philippa May, Sarah Jackson, Alana Picknett, Kate Hendon, Katrina Whitelaw, Monique Pontifex, Rebecca Burns.

Women's Open - Coach: Jodie Bijorac

Having gained experience during the Tri-Nations, the Women’s Open have worked on improving their defence ahead of the British & Irish Cup.

Coach Jodie Bijorac said: “Most of the Women’s Open players had never played at International level before the Tri-Series against Australia and Ireland earlier this year. Whilst it was a steep learning curve for some, a lot of confidence was taken away knowing that for the majority of our games we had held over 60% possession against both teams.

“We have worked on fine tuning our game to reduce turn overs and making improvements to our defence. I expect close games against Ireland this weekend, but I’m definitely backing our chances of success and the ladies are equally up for the challenge.”

Squad: Grace Brown, Kirsty Clarke, Seana Clarke, Emily Clews, Aine Cribbin, Jennifer Evans, Caroline Henzell, Samara Lawrence, Ellen McGuinness, Katy Murphy, Sarah O'Neill, Phoebe Robins (C), Tracey Smith, Kathleen Swalwell, Alice Tozzi, Emer Tumelty.

on 11th September, 2017

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