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England men dig in to win Moscow GP Sevens title

01 July 2012

  • England top table after Moscow with one leg left in Euro series
  • Ryan's side defy injury toll to beat full-strength France in final

Dan Bibby swooped for two tries as England retained their Moscow GP Sevens title by beating France 21-15 in the final.

Dan Bibby

 

Photo: Getty Images

The former Fylde and UWIC full back, who signed a full-time contract with England earlier this summer, touched down in each half after James Rodwell had opened the scoring and kicked all three conversions. France replied with tries from Julien Candelon, Paul Albaladejo and Manoel Dall Igna.

The result means unbeaten England top the standings of the FIRA AER European GP Series going into the final event – the Odense Sevens in Denmark on July 7-8 – and do so despite losing three of their 12-man squad to injuries in Moscow.

They completed their group games with a 19-7 win against Ukraine on the morning of day two, swept past Spain 22-7 in the semi final and then dug in to see off the French.

England use the three-leg European series to integrate new signings and try out young talent so this win was a major plus for head coach Ben Ryan.

He said: “It wasn’t end-to-end stuff but we defended hard, were clinical in the chances we got and it puts us 10 points clear at the top of the table.

“Considering how many players we lost throughout the tournament and how many young ones we had on the field at the end it was a great effort.

“What pleased me most of all was their desire to play for the shirt against the full-strength French side. Some of the guys who’ve joined us were short on conditioning for sevens but even so the likes Ollie Phillips, James Lightfoot-Brown and Mike Ellery were all influential.”

England lost both wings, Matt Williams (hamstring) and Nick Royle (hand), as well as hooker Jack Preece (knee) on day one but swept past the Netherlands (33-14), Wales (35-12), Georgia (47-7) and Russia (19-14).

On day two, new half back Lightfoot-Brown, Phillips and Rodwell all touched down in the 19-7 victory over Ukraine.

Tom Mitchell and Phillips struck in the first half of the semi final against Spain with skipper John Brake’s second half brace making sure of progress.

In the final, Rodwell and Bibby touched down in the first half – and the highlight of the second was Mitchell’s use of pace and footwork to put Bibby in for the clinching try.