- Argentina strike from final play to end England's title hopes
- Teams line-up to pay tribute to Mandela in Port Elizabeth
Photo: Getty Images
England face Scotland in the Bowl quarter finals at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium after failing to qualify for the last eight for the first time this season on an emotional day in Port Elizabeth.
“That’s sevens, it’s the bounce of a ball,” said Mat Turner in previewing the third leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series and the England centre was proved right as his side were edged out by Argentina in agonising fashion in the last play of their final Pool D match.
England led with three minutes to go only to lose their opening encounter of the day 24-14 to Samoa, then put Zimbabwe to the sword 35-7 before going down in the decisive game against Argentina 21-19.
Turner’s first half try had put them in front before Jeronimo de la Fuente and Luis Alcacer established a 14-7 lead early in the second half.
Scores from Dan Bibby and Tom Mitchell put England 19-14 up with 30 seconds to play but Argentina hung on to the ball, hacked through the England defence and Agustin Cortes pounced for the decisive score.
The result means England can finish no higher than ninth in the rankings in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, where all 16 teams lined up on the pitch to pay tribute to the former South Africa President who died last week.
Their first task is to take on the Scots, with the winners tackling Spain or the USA in the Bowl semis.
Against Samoa, England established an early 14-12 lead through tries from Dan Norton and Turner. Alatasi Tupou edged the Islanders back in front and Fomai Ah Ki finished the job.
Jeff Williams scored twice against Zimbabwe with Norton, Tom Mitchell and Edgerley also touching down.