England picked up 10 points in the race for the HSBC Sevens World Series title after their run at the USA Sevens ended in a Plate semi final defeat against Argentina.
They trailed 21-7 at one point and despite late tries from substitute Tom Mitchell and forward Chris Cracknell finished on the wrong end of a 21-19 scoreline at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
Samoa took the title courtesy of a 26-19 extra time win over New Zealand in the final.
The result leaves England in fourth place in the series behind New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa, and head coach Ben Ryan was left rueing missed chances in the 12-7 quarter final reverse against the Kiwis.
His side will now regroup before heading for a traditional stronghold in Hong Kong (March 23-25) and a new venue in Tokyo (March 31-April 1). The final two events are in Glasgow (May 5-6) and London (May 12-13).
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England had finished third at the Hertz Sevens in Wellington the previous week, where New Zealand beat them by a single score in the semi final.
"After what was one of our best performances ever in terms of what we did on the pitch in Wellington, we weren't firing, we looked a bit lethargic and we didn't stick to our game plan,” said Ryan.
"One large factor is the travel with the Northern Hemisphere teams but that's not an excuse and we had chances to win every game we played in, but the margins are so fine here.
"There are lots of things we can work on and we've got to remember it's the mid-way point and there are four tournaments left. If I was feeling really positive, you win the next four tournaments - you win the World Series.
"Nothing is totally won or lost but you can't get away from the fact that the last 24 hours are a bit of a body blow, particularly last night not taking our chances against New Zealand. That's certainly put us on the back foot for the rest of the year.”
In the group stages England beat Brazil (29-5) and Scotland (12-7) before a 7-7 draw against Kenya pitched them into a quarter final against New Zealand where Dan Norton's try and a Marcus Watson conversion put them 7-5 up before Tomasi Cama's second half try settled the game.
Norton scored his sixth try of the tournament - he lies second in the series table with 23 - in the first half against Argentina but England were playing catch-up after Nicolas Bruzzone's opener and two tries from Agustin Migliore.
Oxford University student Mitchell came off the bench to get his third try of the tournament and Cracknell's score came in the final moments of the match.
Elsewhere Wales also exited the tournament at the same Plate semi final stage after a 22-14 defeat at the hands of Kenya - Richard Smith and Kristian Phillips touching down.
Scotland were 40-12 winners against Uruguay in the Shield semi final - Andrew Turnbull leading the way with a hat-trick of tries - but lost the final 22-7 against France. Graham Fisken scored their first-half try.
HSBC Sevens World Series standings (Top 10): 1 New Zealand 92pts, 2 Fiji 87, 3 South Africa 76, 4 England 74, 5 Samoa 69, 6 Australia, France 52, 8 Wales 51, 9 Argentina 45, 10 Canada 30.
Tickets are now available for the London Sevens weekend on 12th & 13th May 2012, with weekend passes starting from £30, single day tickets from £18 and kids tickets at £5 each day. Visit Ticketmaster.co.uk or call 0844 847 2492. (Tickets are subject to availability and booking fees apply).