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Unbeaten England face Wallabies in cup quarter final

29 June 2013

  • Three wins from three for England in Moscow
  • Cup quarter fiaal against Australia awaits at 10:44 BST tomorrow

England Sevens 14 Argentina Sevens 12

Dan Norton dives over for a try against Argentina at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow

Photo: rugbymatters.net

Unbeaten England sneaked past Argentina 14-12 in their final Pool F match the Rugby World Cup Sevens to qualify set up a cup quarter final against Australia tomorrow.

Ben Ryan’s side eased into a 14-0 half time lead through Mat Turner and Dan Norton but after Los Pumas surged back after the break, John Brake was relived to toe-poke the ball dead after a final two minutes of draining defence.

After comfortable victories over Portugal (21-7) and Hong Kong (47-7), England qualified as the third best ranked team and will take on the Wallabies, who defeated them in the Marriott London Sevens semi final in May, at 10.44 BST.

No one is more intense in contact that skipper Rob Vickerman and it was his ferocity without the ball which created both England’s tries.

First he won an aggressive turnover, which allowed Mat Turner to embark on a lateral run to assess the situation, before scooting past two defenders and in under the post. Then, as the clock ticked down, Vickerman was quickly into face of an Argentina ball-carrier and when he coughed the ball up, Brake passed to Norton, who did the rest, despite the attentions of three defenders.

Crucially, as it turned out, Christian Lewis-Pratt had two simple conversions to add the extras on both occasions.

But the seemingly comfortable position was quickly threatened by Argentina, with two quick fire tries from Francisco Merello and Javier Rojas. With England’s lead a slender two points, energy in defence was required to close out the victory.

And given the number of players flat on their back at the final whistle, England left nothing in the tank in their pursuit of world cup glory.

England Sevens 37 Hong Kong Sevens 7

England Sevens player John Brake

Photo: Getty Images

Dan Norton scored his first tries of the Rugby World Cup Sevens as England eased to a 38-7 victory over Hong Kong on Day Two in Moscow.

While England will need to tighten up ahead of the sterner tests that lie in wait this weekend, Ben Ryan will be satisfied with a clinical second-half performance and the searing pace of his chief try-scoring weapon, HSBC Sevens World Series leading scorer Norton.

It was Hong Kong who took the lead, taking advantage of seven first-half turnovers from England to retain possession with ease and cross the whitewash through Yiu Kam Shing, with Ben Rimene adding the extras for a 7-0 lead after two minutes.

But England, who opened with a 21-7 victory over Portugal yesterday, hit back immediately, Tom Mitchell running a great line to outpace the defence and score under the posts. Christian Lewis-Pratt added the extras to tie the scores, but the rest of the half was a scrappy affair.

From one such loose ball, Norton collected Mitchell’s pass and with acres of space in front of him, the Gloucester-born speedster eased home. The score soon became score 14-7, with Lewis-Pratt’s conversion after the hooter.

England completely dominated possession and territory in the second half, scoring four tries to kill the game, with the pick of the bunch coming straight from the restart. Norton skinned his man in a small space and put a perfectly weighted kick through for long-striding Tom Powell to outwork two covering defenders and dot down.

John Brake then stepped off the bench to powerfully hand off two defenders for his third try of the weekend, before Norton added his second with a trademark hitch-kick step to leave the defence floundering.

As England’s infringement count rose – seven penalties were conceded in total – Lewis-Pratt was send to the sin bin with a minute to play but there was still time for Mat Turner to stretch over for his first and England's sixth try of the game.

Watch the tournament live on the IRB website.