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England win opening event of European series

03 June 2012

  • England beat Wales and Portugal in the knock-out stages
  • Vilk strikes twice in successful defence of tournament title

England successfully defended their Lyon Sevens title by beating Portugal 26-14 in the final of the first leg of FIRA AER European Grand Prix Series.

Nick Royle scored nine tries in England's tournament victory in Lyon

Photo: Getty Images

Andy Vilk led the way with two tries and John Brake and Nick Royle also touched down to complete a sixth victory in two days at the Matmut Stadium.

Former captain Vilk’s two tries – both converted by Dan Bibby – opened up a 14-7 half-time lead and Royle and Brake struck in the second half before Pedro Leal’s late consolation.

England use this three-tournament series – they visit Moscow and Odense over the coming month – to bed in new signings, look at new talent and road test new tactics outside the pressurised atmosphere of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

But despite being without the likes of half-a-dozen World Series stars – including leading scorers Mat Turner and Dan Norton - they still touched down 36 tries in six games.

They completed the pool stage with a 35-19 win against the Netherlands, Bibby’s scoring a hat-trick of tries with one apiece for Brake and Bristol wing Matt Williams.

Then came a tight 24-10 semi final win against Wales where England survived despite having Rob Vickerman yellow carded.

Royle’s two tries and a Bibby conversion put England ahead before Vickerman was sin-binned and two Tom Williams tries hauled Wales back to within two points early in the second half.

But Williams added their third try – Bibby converting - and Newcastle Falcons’ half back Joel Hodgson the fourth to put the out of sight

On day one England reeled off four successive victories beating Ukraine 26-0, Spain 46-0, Scotland 31-19 and Georgia 34-7.