Saturday 31st March 2007
England's defence managed to hold off a feisty Argentina to secure a top of the pool position, but it means a tough quarter final clash with New Zealand for the four times defending champions.
In an extremely tense encounter Simon Amor's men showed further improvement on their previous performances and ensured the 30,000 strong crowd were kept entertained. Captain Amor (London Wasps) - playing for a sixth time in Hong Kong - scored England's opening try thanks to a great team effort by David Doherty (London Wasps) and Andy Vilk (Sale Sharks) to help Amor cross the line.
An impressive break from Gloucester youngster Jack Adams almost put England on the score sheet again soon after but England had to be patient as they lost possession. Adams caught the ball from an Argentina line out and passed to London Wasps' James Brooks who stormed through a gap in the Pumas defence to cross the line.
With everything to play for - as a defeat would mean the end to their Cup competition dreams - Argentina fought back and Gomez Cora scored before the break (England 12 Argentina 7).
James Brooks may have sat on the sidelines last time he was in Hong Kong having narrowly missed out on England's final Rugby World Cup Sevens squad in 2005, but he made up for it today with a second try soon into the second half. Despite the closing Argentine defence Brooks upped the pace to cross the line, helped by a great break by Adams.
Argentina showed grit and determination as they came back again with Dobal scoring to take the Pumas to within one score. The hooter sounded but the ball remained in play for over a minute and Argentina had over four chances to score, only to be met with a rigid England defence each time. The last frantic seconds of play made the crowd get to their feet in excitement but England stayed strong and finished at 19 14.
Speaking after the game, captain Amor said, "We are learning from each game without a doubt and improving everytime we play. I am really pleased with our defence which was really tested in that game. It showed real determination by the players. Hopefully we will all get some rest and get ready for another big game tomorrow against New Zealand."
England Sevens Coach Ben Ryan said, "Argentina knew before the game that if they lost that would be it for them so we knew they would be tough. We started well but they came back at us as we expected them to. The England players handled a great deal of pressure well tonight and it will have stood them in good stead for tomorrow against the kiwis. It is such a fantastic atmosphere here I can't wait for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is an amazing opportunity for the young England players. To come to Hong Kong and play against New Zealand in front of 40,000 fans."
Danny Care (NEC Harlequins) who played for the first time in centre when he replaced Doherty in the second half said, "It was hard to come into such a pressured game but I am glad I got the chance, and it was great to get the win in the end. Playing New Zealand is always a massive occasion and I am looking forward to it."
Tom Williams (NEC Harlequins) who had his hair cut over night said, 'My hair was getting too long so I popped out this morning to get it cut. I am sure I am much quicker on the pitch now! It was tough coming on in that game but I just had to step right up to the plate and get on with it. I am excited about tomorow."
England top pool E and face New Zealand in the second quarter final tomorrow (13.42 local / 6.42am BST).
England - Tries: Amor, Brooks (2)
Conversions: Amor (2)
Argentina - Tries: Gomez Cora, Dobal
Conversions: Dobal (2)
Simon Amor, captain, (London Wasps); Dave Seymour (Saracens); Jack Adams (Gloucester); James Brooks (London Wasps); Ben Russell (Saracens); Andy Vilk (Sale Sharks); David Doherty (London Wasps)
Reps: Danny Care (NEC Harlequins); Tom Williams (NEC Harlequins); Nils Mordt (London Irish)
Not used: Tony Roques (Exeter Chiefs); Charlie Amesbury (NEC Harlequins)
From - Frederica Amelong; Alejandro Abadie; Juan Facundo Barni; Santiago Bottini; Nicolas Ariel Bruzzone; Gonzalo Oscar Camacho; Ramiro Del Busto; Santiago Cora Gomez; Carlos Lizarraga; Francisco Merllo; Mariano Dobal; Nicolas Vergallo
Referee: T Hirabayshi (JAP)
Charlie and the Try Factory in Hong Kong
NEC Harlequins winger Charlie Amesbury set the Hong Kong Stadium alight this afternoon with four tries in ten minutes, to help England to victory over Korea. The youngster, who turns 21 next week, got a first half hat trick and was joined on the score sheet by Nils Mordt (London Irish) and Jack Adams (Gloucester).
England still showed some errors in their second pool game match of a tournament which they have won on the last four successive occasions. The minor mistakes cost them two tries in a match which was played in the heat and humidity of the afternoon in Hong Kong.
Charlie scored his first try within 40 seconds of kick off and his two follow up tries ensured England led 12 7 at the break. Korea's first try came courtesy of Yoon Hee-Soo.
In the second half Charlie, who is a member of the Harlequins Academy, successfully scored his fourth of the match before being rotated by coach Ben Ryan for fellow Quins team mate Tom Williams.
Experienced sevens player, Nils Mordt, who played in England's victory here last season, scored England's fifth of the match, marking his return to Hong Kong in style. Korea took advantage of an opportunity to score their second (Kim Sung-Soo) but it was England who had the last word with Jack Adams scoring his first try on only his second match for England Sevens.
Speaking after the match Charlie said, "This is an amazing place to play. A few of the other players had tried to explain what it was like but until you get here you can't really imagine. I have heard it will be even better tomorrow. At one stage I heard the announcer in the stadium ask who was cheering for England and the whole crowd seemed to go mad. There must be over 30,000 people here already today."
England - Tries: Amesbury (4), Mordt, Adams
Conversions: Amor (4)
Simon Amor, captain, (London Wasps); Dave Seymour (Saracens); Jack Adams (Gloucester); Tony Roques (Exeter Chiefs); Nils Mordt (London Irish); Charlie Amesbury (NEC Harlequins); James Brooks (London Wasps)
Reps: Danny Care (NEC Harlequins); Ben Russell (Saracens); Tom Williams (NEC Harlequins)
Not used: David Doherty (London Wasps); Andy Vilk (Sale Sharks)
Kwon-Woo; Jae-Young; Young-Hun; Hee-Soo; Kwang-Moon; Keun-Hyun; Young-Nam
Reps from: Sung-Soo; Jong-Man; Jong-Soo; Jun-Ki; Myung-Geun
Referee: P Legoete (SA)