- England hold five point lead going into final FIRA tournament
- Clean sweep in pool stages followed by setback against Russia
Photo: Getty Images
England hold a five-point lead in the FIRA European Grand Prix Sevens despite finishing fourth at the penultimate tournament of the series in Barcelona.
After winning the opening two legs in Lyon and Moscow, an injury-hit side was beaten 17-14 by Russia in the cup semi final and were then edged out 22-19 by Portugal in the third/fourth play-off in the Olympic Stadium.
Russia, who went on to beat Italy 7-5 in the final, trailed 14-5 at one point but rallied and scored with the last play of the game to beat England while Nick Royle was in the sin bin.
Earlier Royle had added another eight tries to his tally to extend his lead in the overall series try-scoring table.
Earlier England had cruised through the pool stages with wins over Romania (29-7), Georgia (33-7), Italy (22-12), France (20-7) and the Netherlands (26-7).
"We’re still five points clear in the overall series and while we had some problems with injuries after a good day one we know we can play better than we showed at the end," said Head Coach Ben Ryan.
England suffered injuries to Tom Mitchell (hand), John Brake (ankle), Chris Brightwell (ankle) and Simon Hunt (eye) and as a result wing Sam Edgerley be one of those coming into contention for the final leg of the series in Bucharest after impressing at the Vauxhall Middlesex Sevens.
FIRA European GP Series rankings (top five): 1 England 50pts, 2 Portugal 45, 3 Spain 43, 4 Russia 38, 5 France 35