- England defeat New Zealand, the Netherlands and Trinidad & Tobago on day 1
- England now face the Netherlands in quarter-finals
Photo: Paul Rudman/IRB
England Women Sevens enjoyed an unblemished first day of action in the World Series in Houston on Friday after victories over the Netherlands, Trinidad & Tobago and New Zealand.
England Women, coached by Barry Maddocks and Susie Appleby, now head into day two as top seeds and will face the Netherlands once again in the quarter-finals. The USA and Australia top pools B and C.
England, fielding a more experienced squad to the one that finished seventh in the World Series opener in Dubai, enjoyed a tough but convincing first match against the Netherlands. Running in three tries, thanks to Ruth Laybourn (2) and Katherine Merchant, they triumphed 17-7.
Next up was the unknown outfit of Trinidad & Tobago and England soon swept them aside with a 48-0, five-try win, which included scores for new caps Katy McLean (2), Alex Matthews and Marlie Packer (2).
In the final pool game England took on their toughest opponents New Zealand and it was a thriller. England edged the match 7-5 thanks to a try from Natasha Hunt – set-up by the ever present Emily Scarratt – but New Zealand came back in late and scored a try on full-time.
England Head Coach Maddocks said: “I am delighted with our performance on day one. We came here to learn more about ourselves and test ourselves against the best opposition we can. To get three wins shows how much progress we have made.
“The new caps – Katy McLean, Alex Matthews and Marlie Packer – have been excellent and I’m really pleased with how the squad has worked together. We are looking forward to tomorrow but we are expecting it to be tough. The Dutch will be keen to come back at us after their 17-7 defeat in the pool - we know that we can’t be complacent”.
England 17 Netherlands 7
Tries: Laybourn (2) Merchant
England 48 Trinidad & Tobago 0
Tries: Packer (2), Matthews, McLean (2), Staniford (2), Hunt
Conversions: McLean (3), Richardson
England 7 New Zealand 5