- England have to settle for fifth after a tough weekend in Amsterdam
- Sevens debutant Hancock score winning try in extra time to secure fifth spot
A 17-12 victory over Spain in the play-offs saw a young England Women’s side finish fifth in the Amsterdam Sevens on Sunday.
With only six players in the squad who lifted the IRB Challenge Cup crown in London last weekend, England struggled in the second day of sevens action leaving them to play off against Spain for fifth place.
England, however, showed great determination to secure the fifth place finish against a full strength Spanish side with a try in extra time from Sevens newcomer Kate Hancock. Fellow Sevens debutant Natasha Brennan also touched down twice, with Natasha Hunt kicking one conversion.
England were left battling for fifth place after losing 7-12 to the USA in the final pool game on Saturday. England had started the day well with a 24-0 victory over Wales. Lichfield’s Hunt ran in a hat-trick of tries and Jennifer Brightmore also touched down. Sarah McKenna added four points from the boot.
In England’s second match they were as dominant, inflicting a 26-0 victory over South Africa. This time Brennan, Rachael Burford, captain Sonia Green and Abigail Chamberlain touched down. Alice Richardson and Hunt added three conversions.
But in their final encounter on Saturday the young England side struggled against the on-form Eagles. Brennan touched down for her second try of the tournament and Richardson converted but two tries from the USA and a conversion was too much for England to overcome.
The first day’s results meant England faced a tough second pool round on Sunday pitting them against hosts Netherlands, London finalists last weekend, and then IRB Challenge Cup winner in Dubai Canada.
England couldn’t break the Netherlands this time around and instead the hosts ran in three tries and England had no reply.
Next up was Canada, and England picked up the pace to hold the full strength Canadian side to a 12-12 draw, with Burford and McKenna scoring. McKenna also added one conversion, but the draw was not enough to keep England in contention and they had to settle for the fifth/sixth play-off final.
England Women’s Sevens Head Coach Barry Maddocks said: “We are obviously disappointed to finish fifth but at the same time this has been a tremendous learning experience for our young squad.
“The likes of Natasha Brennan, Kate Hancock, Emily Scott, Leanne Riley and Katie Mason have been exposed to top level international sevens rugby over the last two days, playing against some of the world’s best players in Canada and the USA, and that is only going to benefit their game in the long run.
“It was disappointing that we suffered such a heavy defeat this morning against the Netherlands. It was a game we struggled to get up for, but we bounced back against Canada and held them to a draw. We can also take a lot of positives from our final game against Spain.”
Amsterdam Sevens Day 1 Results
England 24 Wales 0
Tries: Hunt (3), Brightmore
Conversions: McKenna (2)
England 26 South Africa 0
Tries: Brennan, Burford, Green, Chamberlain
Conversions: Richardson (2), Hunt
England 7 USA 12
Amsterdam Sevens Day 2 Results
England 0 Netherlands 17
England 12 Canada 12
Tries: Burford, McKenna
England 17 Spain 12
Tries: Brennan (2), Hancock
England Sevens Squad
Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
Natasha Brennan (Wasps)
Jennifer Brightmore (Worcester)
Rachael Burford (Richmond)
Sonia Green (C) (Saracens)
Kate Hancock (Plymouth Albion (on loan to Worcester))
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Katie Mason (Bristol)
Sarah McKenna (Wasps)
Alice Richardson (Richmond)
Leanne Riley (Saracens)
Emily Scott (Thurrock)