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England respond with big day two wins in Dubai Sevens

01 December 2012

  • Australia and Spain well-beaten on day two in the desert
  • Ryan: I'm confident we have the talent to start winning run

ENGLAND restored their dented pride with two big wins on day two of the Dubai Sevens.

Leading try scorer Dan Norton grabbed a hat-trick in the 40-12 destruction of Australia and Marcus Watson struck twice as they beat Spain 26-5 in the final of the Bowl competition.

Dan Norton


Photo: Martin Seras Lima

It eased some of the pain of their Pool C exit at the hands of Portugal, who also knocked out South Africa on day one. Samoa - England's only day one victims - won the Dubai title by beating New Zealand 26-15 in the final.

England added another casualty to their long injury list overnight with confirmation of centre Tom Mitchell’s broken right fibula.

Half back Sam Edgerley and hooker Mark Odejobi will join the squad as cover as they head for next weekend’s South Africa Sevens at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

“I’m pleased with the Australia result – it’s the first time we’ve beaten them by 40 points, I think – and it was good to beat Spain after going out against them in the last tournament,” said England Head Coach Ben Ryan.

“We’re stretched. It happens. Almost 40 per cent of our squad injured and that accelerates the learning of everyone else. You can look at it as a glass half full. They started to front up in the last couple of games.”

England went down 24-14 in the day two opener to Argentina, again conceding early tries to Facundo Garrido and Ramiro Moyano. Marcus Watson and James Rodwell responded but Matias Moroni’s clincher condemned England to the bottom tier Shield competition.

England Sevens head coach Ben Ryan. Picture: Martin Seras Lima


Photo: Martin Seras Lima

They responded in dramatic style against Australia, another side in the bottom tier which indicates how competitive the HSBC Sevens World Series has become.

Norton’s stunning hat-trick was backed up by two Watson strikes and a further score for hooker Jeff Williams. Dan Bibby’s five conversions completed the job.

Spain had put England out of the quarter finals in leg one of the series in the Gold Coast and they got some revenge with another fluent attacking display in the final.

Pedro Martin got the opening try but England twice worked openings for Watson to break tackles and burst up the middle to score.

Spain were squeezed back for long spells in the second half and Tom Powell and John Brake added further tries in the closing moments.

England’s slow start to the season hasn’t knocked Ryan’s faith in his young players.

“These are players you can do something with. I’m not looking at them and going ‘they’re not good enough’. I can see there’s talent there.

“It’s not the finished article and we we need to win and I understand that but if you’re buffeted around with injuries and everything else then these kids get thrown in and they did pretty well.

"I said to them today that when we start winning I think we’ll keep winning and let’s hope this is the start of a fresh page in this year’s series.”