- England go out 15-12 after drop goal in closing moments against Samoans
- Watson strikes to secure 14-7 win over Spain in day two opening match
England made an agonising exit on day two of the South Africa Sevens in Port Elizabeth.
Building on big 33-12 pool stage win over Scotland and picking up points towards the HSBC Sevens World Series standings was on the agenda after missing out on a quarter final place.
Photo: Martin Seras Lima
England duly opened up with a 14-7 win over Spain and then were all-square against last weekend's Dubai champions Samoa only to go down 15-12 after Robert Lilomaiava's last play penalty settled the tie.
Head coach Ben Ryan's men now take a winter break hoping to get some of their long list of injured players back in action for the Wellington and Las Vegas tournaments in February.
Already without half-a-dozen key men, they suffered another setback this weekend with forwards Chris Brightwell (head) and Jeff Williams (thigh) ruled out of day two in the same collision.
"We bounced back against Spain and although we gave away one soft try we played pretty well against Samoa," said Ryan.
"The winter break comes exactly when we need it and we hope we'll have half-a-dozen back and available by the time we got to New Zealand, so there is some light at the end of the tunnel."
England had pressed Spain into errors, striking first when 100-try wing Dan Norton chipped over the top and referee Anthony Moyes awarded a penalty try after he was impeded as he went to ground the ball.
Marcus Watson added the conversion and Ignacio Martin was sin-binned for the offence but Spain levelled through Pedro Martin despite having only six men on the field.
Watson spotted the space and carved through a gap, converting his own try shortly before the interval and England then pinned the Spanish back throughout a scoreless second half.
The former England Under 20 wing’s individual effort put England in front against the Samoans, who Ryan's side had beaten in the Dubai pool stage eight days earlier.
Levi Asifa'amatala replied, though, and Tulolo Tulolo's strike just before the interval gave the Islanders a 12-7 interval lead.
Four minutes into a tense second half England worked an opening for Tom Powell to get over in the corner but Dan Bibby couldn't convert from the wide angle.
A minute into extra time Samoa won the decisive penalty and Lilomaiava's drop kick put them into the Bowl final at England's expense.