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Watson restores pride for England

14 October 2012

  • England dig in to see off Scotland and Canada but fall to Spain in Bowl final
  • Cracknell and Turner face lengthy spells out of action after Day One injuries

Photo: Getty Images

England limped over the line at the Gold Coast Sevens, beating Scotland and edging out Canada before going down 19-14 in sudden death extra time against Spain in the Bowl Final.

They showed plenty of resilience at the opening leg of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series after failing to make the Cup quarter finals.

Scotland were swept away 35-7 with Dan Norton’s two tries leading the way and Marcus Watson pounced in extra-time to win a 24-19 thriller against Canada.

England then led Spain 14-7 early in the second half with tries from James Rodwell and Christian Lewis-Pratt.

But Ignacio Martin equalised and Matias Tudela got away for the winner as Spain beat England in a World Series tournament for the first time.

Head Coach Ben Ryan didn’t have many options left, admittedly, with four senior players out of action by the end of the tournament.

Mat Turner, the series leading try scorer last season, broke an ankle on day one and forward Chris Cracknell damaged knee ligaments in the same game. Tom Powell didn’t reappear after game one following a bang on the head and John Brake (ankle) was ruled out of the final match.

England now have leg two to look forward to in the Middle East, where they defend their Dubai Sevens title on November 30 and December 1.

At the start of day two, England had roared into a 21-0 half time lead against Scotland, with two tries for wing Norton and one for forward Rodwell.

Jeff Williams and Watson came off the bench to score in the second half with Watson converting his own try and Christian Lewis-Pratt the rest.

They trailed 14-0 to Canada after tries from Sean Duke and Ciaran Hearn but forced their way back in it with centre Tom Mitchell striking just before the break.

Norton’s fifth try of the tournament and another powerful run from Williams put England 19-14 up only for Duke’s late score to give Watson his chance to strike gold.

The former London Irish and Saracens wing weaved his way through the middle to set up the final meeting with Spain.

England had beaten Spain 13-10 in their Pool C meeting on day one and Pedro and Ignacio Martin both scored against them for the second time this weekend.

Rodwell’s rangy run down the left gave England the lead but they looked short on energy in the closing stages and Tudela got away down the left to finish them off after 50 seconds of extra time.