Coach believes there's more to come as England bid to build on Dubai win
Tough draw pits them against Argentina, Samoa and USA in Port Elizabeth
England Sevens head coach Ben Ryan insists he “isn’t satisfied” with the way his side are playing yet despite having lifted the Dubai title.
England ran in five tries to beat France 29-12 following hard-earned wins against New Zealand (10-7) and Fiji (19-12) on the way.
England’s player of the tournament Mathew Turner and wing Dan Norton led the way with seven tries over the two days.
Photo: Getty Images
Turner struck twice in the final, Norton snatched the winner against New Zealand before Fijian-born soldier Isoa Damudamu scored two vital semi final tries before opening England’s account against France.
The 22 series points gained put England second in the overall standings behind Fiji with the third leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series to come in Port Elizabeth on December.
But a delighted Ryan wants his side to continue improving and believes they have the ability to do so.
“I’m still not satisfied with the way we’re playing and we’ve got a lot more in the tank,” he said.
“But we played played some very clever football and some outstanding individual contributions kept us on the front foot.
“Mat Turner’s acceleration off the base was phenomenal. We had gas [speed] at the base, we had gas on the wing with Norton, and in Damudamu in the middle we had the glue that connected the two. The forwards provided the platform and I’m glad they all hit their straps.”
The other tries in the final came from former Gloucester and Bristol wing Norton and ex-Newcastle centre Rob Vickerman, who signed a full-time sevens with England contract this summer.
Turner’s second try was his 50th in the series and Norton now has 56 from 18 tournaments.
“We’ve always got an ongoing competition Dan and I - he’s unbelievable player and he’ll always be that step ahead of me. I’m happy if he’s scoring. It’s all good.
“It’s a small milestone but so far so good. I just enjoy playing, being on the field with six other boys is enough motivation for me.
“We’re so successful in Dubai because it’s a home away from home, we’ve got the whole crowd behind us and it really gets us up. Now we go to South Africa next week and we’ve got to keep going.”
Despite winning in Dubai, England were handed a tough draw in the pool stages in Port Elizabeth on December 9 and 10.
They face games against Dubai semi finalists Argentina, 2010 series champions Samoa and the USA at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium followed by a potential quarter final against Fiji or Wales on the second day.
Pool A: England, Argentina, USA, Samoa. Pool B: France, New Zealand, Scotland, Morocco. Pool C: South Africa, Australia, Canada, Kenya. Pool D: Fiji, Wales, Portugal, Zimbabwe.
STANDINGS (after two of nine legs)
1 Fiji 39pts, 2 England 32, 3 France, New Zealand, South Africa 29, 6 Australia 28, 7 Argentina, Wales 23, 9 Samoa, Scotland 15