Ireland Sevens star Brittany Hogan described her recent appearances on the World Sevens Series as “ just an absolute dream”.
The Ulster centre was part of an Ireland Women’s Sevens squad that made history at the Sydney Sevens by topping their pool and finishing at their highest ever position of fourth.
The tournament started slow for Ireland, with a drawn game against Russia. This was followed by an upset win against Canada, and a comfortable win against Fiji.
Spain were up next in the quarter final, before losing out to Australia in the semi-final and against the USA in the third place playoff.
Hogan started her Sevens career in August of last year, winning her first cap in Kazan in the European Sevens Grand Prix.
“Your first cap is obviously one of your best experiences, because playing for Ireland is just a dream, especially for the younger girls in the squad who’ve been playing rugby since they were little and playing with the green jersey on your back after years of watching it on tv, was just a dream.” Hogan said.
Making it on to the World Series, however, was a step above, playing against the very best in the world.
“In Dubai we had New Zealand in our group, and I remember standing up before a scrum and seeing Sarah Goss standing in front of me, and Ruby Tui and it was just amazing, you’d be standing there thinking ‘you’ve made it’.”
While Dubai was not the best tournament from an Irish perspective, an eighth place finish and three games lost, it was a particularly special tournament for Hogan as her family made the trip out to Dubai.
Hogan is currently in second year of Sport Science & Health in DCU after transferring this year.
She said because of her being on the periphery of Ireland squads, she was putting training ahead of her coursework.
“I wasn’t making lectures, I was only really making the compulsory ones, and because Lansdowne (where the Sevens squads train) is a half an hour drive away, its hard to make lectures that are in between trainings, in the middle of the day, so I would just skip them.
“It definitely was a big factor, and made my week 11 and 12 of semester one fairly hectic.
“Lecturers were actually very understanding and helpful though, they would help me out with notes. Brendan Egan for example, I was able to meet with him one-to-one and discuss some of the assignments and the exam in January.
“That was so helpful for me because I don’t think I would have got through it otherwise.”
She went to acknowledge the help given by Sports Development and the Rugby Officers, particularly when needing to travel to tournaments in far flung locations like Dubai and Australia.
Next up for the Ireland women on the World Series is the Kitakyushu Sevens (Japan) on the 21st and 22nd of April.
As Hogan says herself, there are no guarantees in sport, but she will surely be well in contention for a spot on the plane to Japan.
Image Credit: Ulster Rugby.