- Norton and Turner tries see England home against Australia
- But Fiji grab place in final and South Africa dominate play-off
England added 15 points to their cause in the HSBC Sevens World Series after finishing in fourth place at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
They opened the tournament’s final day with a dramatic 19-14 quarter final victory over Australia but then couldn’t take their chances against Fiji in a 14-7 reverse to the Islanders, who went on to beat New Zealand and lift the title.
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The tournament then ended on a low note with a 28-0 defeat to South Africa in the third/fourth play-off and England now regroup and head for the Japan Sevens in Tokyo (March 31-April 1).
It leaves England fourth in the overall series with 89 points, behind leaders New Zealand (111), Fiji (109) and South Africa (93) with three tournaments remaining.
“It’s never nice losing, especially in front of a crowd like this when two thirds of them are cheering for us and you feel you’ve let them down,” said England’s Mat Turner.
“We’ll use the emotions we have and hopefully come back next week in Tokyo and give the crowd there something to watch.”
Captain Greg Barden said: “We gave away something like 15 pieces of possession in the final game and at this level that’s suicide. You’ve got to keep the ball.”
Stephen Dippenaar, William Small-Smith, Cornal Hendricks and Branco du Preez scored the Blitzbokke tries.
England dominated the bulk of their game against Fiji but didn’t take a couple of scoring chances and dropped off tackles to let in Jimilai Naikadawa and Metisuela Talebula.
Earlier Dan Norton struck from behind his own line with the last play of the game to see England home 19-14 against Australia.
The former Gloucester and Bristol wing added two more tries to his tally this season with second half touchdowns after Turner had opened the scoring.
Norton's double took him to the top of the HSBC Sevens World Series score charts this season with 29, two ahead of his nearest rival Frank Halai of New Zealand.
His winner against Australia came in stunning fashion, started behind his own line with a cut inside one opponent and step outside another before an 80m dash to the line.