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Patient England punish Pumas in Hong Kong opener

23 March 2012

  • England open Hong Kong campaign with win against Argentina
  • Tries from Norton, Vickerman and Turner
Isoa Damudamu makes a break during England's win over Argentina in the 2012 IRB Sevens in Hong Kong

Photo: Getty Images

England got their campaign under way at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens with a patient 19-10 victory against Argentina.

They trailed twice against a side who had beaten them in their last outing at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas and the Pumas kept the ball for long spells.

But Dan Norton grabbed his 24th try of the season, substitute Rob Vickerman edged them in front for the first time with his long-range effort and Mat Turner put England out of reach.

England now face Kenya and Samoa on the tournament's second day looking to book a place in Sunday's quarter finals.

"I'm very happy with the result and the margin," said Head Coach Ben Ryan.

"We always find it hard against Argentina, they worked very hard against us and a nine-point victory is rare against them - we normally scrape it by a score or less. They've been a bit of a nemesis for us and if you make a mistake you're going to pay."

Turner added: "We needed to find out that we have the ability to defend for long periods of time and then strike when we had to.

"All three teams we play are sides that are good at keeping the ball and you have to let them do what they do and then take that chance with both hands."

England had a youthful look to their side with Oxford history student Tom Mitchell making his first start in a playmaker role and 19-year-old Harlequins centre Charlie Walker appeared as a second half substitute.

They trailed 10-5 early in the second half after Facundo Panceyra Garrido and Diego Palma scored for the Pumas.

Mat Turner tries to break a tackle during England's win over Argentina in the 2012 IRB Sevens in Hong Kong

Photo: Getty Images

Norton had raced over in the first half for his 72nd sevens career try, overtaking Simon Amor (71) to become fourth on England's all-time list behind Ben Gollings, Richard Haughton and Rob Thirlby.

Former Leeds Carnegie and Newcastle Falcons centre Vickerman then reacted sharply to spot a gap and go 80 metres for the second.

The clincher came after a long relieving kick from Mitchell with England pressing up and stripping the ball away from an isolated opponent.

Another substitute, James Rodwell, then opened up the space for Turner to cut inside and finish things off with Mitchell's two second half conversions completing the job.