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England face Australia in last eight at Hong Kong Sevens

24 March 2012

  • England edged out by Samoans in final pool game
  • Wing takes try tally to 27 with hat-trick against Kenya

England will face Australia in the quarter final stages of the Cathay Pacific/ HSBC Hong Kong Sevens after finishing second in their group.

Dan Norton went to the top of the HSBC Sevens World Series try charts with a hat-trick in the 21-17 win against Kenya.

But England were edged out 14-12 by Samoa in the final Pool A match despite tries from Rob Vickerman and captain Greg Barden.

England try scorer Dan Norton

Photo: Getty Images

Australia’s young side reached the last eight with wins over Scotland (29-14) and France (31-10) but went down 22-5 to the Fijians in their final Pool C outing.

“When you look at the young kids in their side you know they’ll have no fear and they’ll want to go out and give it a really good go against us,” said England head coach Ben Ryan.

“From the Samoa game there are one or two things we need to sort out but overall I was pleased with what we did. We played well against Kenya to get into the quarter finals and against Samoa we stepped up in performance and created chances.”

England controlled a tight first half against Samoa with Chris Cracknell and Tom Mitchell combining to put former Leeds and Newcastle centre Vickerman over on the left.

But a couple of errors put them behind, Samoa scoring through Paul Perez from a free kick after England put the restart out on the full and then an interception and a missed tackle saw Alafoti Faosiliva add a second try.

Barden pulled one score back with Mitchell converting from the final play.

Earlier Norton’s hat-trick took his total to 27 for the season, putting him level with injured New Zealander Frank Halai at the top of the standings.

The former Gloucester and Bristol wing struck twice early on and then stretched the lead at a crucial point in the second half with Christian Lewis-Pratt adding three important conversions.

Kenya got back in the game with tries from Collins Injera, Horace Otieno and Felix Ayange before they ran out of time.

England opened their Hong Kong account the previous evening with a 19-10 win against Argentina, earned by tries from Norton, Vickerman and Mat Turner.