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England youngsters claim Commonwealth gold

12 September 2011

  • England Sevens win gold in Commonwealth
  • It’s been a great team performance – Arnott
Jack Arnott runs with the ball for England

Photo: Getty Images

England Rugby Sevens produced a dominant display of attacking rugby at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man, winning all six matches and beating southern hemisphere rivals South Africa 41-20 in the final to claim gold.

So impressive was their display in the final, coach Ben Ryan said that the team performed "as well as I’ve seen any England side play".

The Rugby Sevens gold cemented England’s place at the top of the medal table ahead of Australia, as England’s young athletes won 19 gold medals on the final day to finish with 37 overall, eight more than Australia who had topped the table for the first two days.

James Lightfoot-Brown in action with England

Photo: Getty Images

Coached by England Sevens supremo Ben Ryan and England Under 18 Head Coach John Fletcher, the English youngsters got off to a flying start on Day 1, beating Trinidad & Tobago 53-0 before putting 64 unanswered points past Sri Lanka.

In the final game of Day 1, England beat South Africa 7-5 in a tight affair.

Day 2 saw England come up against the hosts in the quarter final, but even the support of the Isle of Man faithful couldn’t stop England running riot, eventually winning 52-0.

England’s semi-final was against the Auld Enemy Scotland who had beaten Sri Lanka 47-0 in their quarter final. Despite conceding their second try of the competition, England still ran out 19-5 winners to set up a final re-match with the Springboks.

Scotyt Spurling touches down for England

Photo: Getty Images

South Africa got off the a flying start under the floodlights, scoring in the first minute of the game, but a try from Sale Sharks’ Mark Jennings levelled things up minutes later.

London Irish wing Anthony Watson grabbed England’s second try, which was converted by club teammate and captain James Lightfoot-Brown, giving England the lead. And although South Africa reduced the deficit to two points, a try from Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Arnott on the stroke of half time increased England’s lead to nine.

A brilliant try by Lightfoot-Brown and another by Leeds Carnegie wing Marcus Webber put Ben Ryan’s boys 29-15 ahead, before two further tries from Arnott – completing his hat-trick – sealed the victory.

Marcus Webber in action for England

Photo: Getty Images

Speaking after the win, Arnott said that the squad knew it wasn’t going to be an easy ride, he said: “There is never really a breathing space in 7s, but getting a bigger lead just before half time was good.

“We played South Africa before and we knew they would fight back so we really had to keep on our toes and make sure we were ruthless. It’s been a great team performance and James [Lightfoot-Brown] has led us so well.”

Coach Ben Ryan was full of praise for his young team, adding: “I’m absolutely delighted,” he said. “I’ve looked after England sides for five years-at Commonwealth Games and World Sevens tournaments - and in the last ten minutes they played as well as I’ve seen any England side play.

England Rugby 7s Squad

Mark Jennings (Sale Sharks)
Jack Arnott (Exeter Chiefs)
Scott Spurling (Saracens)
Tom Jubb (Saracens)
Stephan Reynolds (Gloucester Rugby)
Marcus Webber (Leeds Carnegie)
Sam Jones (Exeter Chiefs)
Joe Buckle (Bath Rugby)
Zach Kibirigie (Newcastle Falcons)
James Lightfoot-Brown (C) (London Irish)
Anthony Watson (London Irish)
Oliver Rosillo (Leeds Carnegie)

 

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