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England punish Pumas to top group in George

09 December 2006

England 26
Argentina 5

England may have got off to a bit of a shaky start with their draw against Wales but they soon returned to form, beating Portugal and Argentina to top their pool and set up a quarfter-final against Samoa (11.37am GMT Saturday).

England had earlier put ten tries over against Portugal and showed much of the same motivation and spirit against Argentina, scoring four tries. Michael Hills from Sale Sharks earned reward for his effort in all three matches with an early try, successfully converted by captain Simon Amor (London Wasps). Young David Doherty from London Wasps, who played for England at the Under 19 World Cup in Dubai in April, scored two more tries to add to his earlier three.

England once again showed how they could control a match and Gloucester's Rob Thirlby demonstrated his speed and sevens experience to cross the line, giving him his fourth try of the day.

In the last moment of the match Argentina fought back with a late try but England were safely through to tomorrow's quarter finals as top of their group.

England Sevens Coach Mike Friday was pleased with his squad's performance, especially their ability to put the Wales game behind them. He said, "The boys really seemed to learn from their early mistakes and nerves in the Wales game, and it appears that the penny is dropping in their understanding of their running lines on and off the ball. The spirit and effort on effort that the players displayed certainly bodes well for tomorrow's difficult quarter final against Samoa. I have watched Samoa today and they are a quick, powerful side who are very confrontational in the contact area. We will need to be very accurate in contact and ensure that we stretch them defensively running at holes and our support lines will need to be top drawer."

David Doherty, England's leading try scorer of the tournament so far, said, I was really happy with my performance today, as well as the way the team really pulled together for each other. The first game is always tough and Wales were extremely spirited and passionate and deserved the draw. I am always thrilled to play for England and to score tries makes it even more special."

England: Tries: Hills, Doherty (2), Thirlby. Conversions: Amor (3)

England: Michael Hills (Sale Sharks), Andy Vilk (Sale Sharks), Simon Amor (London Wasps, Captain), Rob Thirlby (Gloucester), Danny Gray (Bristol), James Haskell (London Wasps), David Doherty (London Wasps). Replacements: Charlie Amesbury (NEC Harlequins), , Ben Gollings, Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers) Not used: Dominic Shabbo (London Irish), Marcel Garvey (Worcester)

Referee: Taizo Hirabayashi (JAP)