- England edged out by Samoa on opening day of HSBC Sevens World Series
- Results set up second day showdown with Scotland at Skilled Park
England were edged out of a quarter final place after an agonising 19-17 defeat against Samoa in their final Pool C match on Day One of the Gold Coast Sevens.
After being held to a 14-14 draw by Kenya and beating Spain 13-10, England went into the last game of the day without key men Chris Cracknell (knee) and Mat Turner (ankle).
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They still managed to force their way into a 17-14 lead with two Tom Mitchell tries and a trademark Dan Norton touchdown, Christian Lewis-Pratt landing one conversion.
But Lio Lolo’s late score ended their title hopes and they now face a sevens version of the Calcutta Cup against Scotland in the quarter finals of the Bowl.
Mitchell said: “We came in with high expectations and we haven’t quite delivered today but we know we’ve got more to give and we’ll back to prove a point and get some sort of silverware.
“We’ve had a really good pre-season, everything coming into the tournament was good. We came with a great squad but we’ll have to look at it and see what went wrong. Whoever we play we’ll stick to our game plan and come out firing and do our best.”
Earlier Turner’s try and a Lewis-Pratt penalty put England 8-0 up against Spain, only for Pedro Martin and Ignacio Martin to reply.
Then Jeff Williams came off the bench for the injured Cracknell and his first contribution was to surge 70 metres for the decisive try.
England were held to a draw by Kenya after Norton and Chris Brightwell scored well-constructed tries as Ben Ryan’s side dominated the first half.
But they lost control of the ball in the second with Davis Chenge scoring when injury briefly reduced England to six fit players and Dennis Ombachi going over late on. Biko Adema’s injury-time conversion levelled the match.