- Barry Maddocks’ side edged out of top spot in Pool D by Russia
- Comprehensive wins over France and Japan opened tournament
England Women will join their male counterparts in the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow on Sunday but they have made it hard for themselves after finishing second in Pool D.
Barry Maddocks’ side had looked on course to book their place in the final eight after two wins over France and Japan but they came unstuck against host nation Russia in the final game, losing 17-15 after leading 10-5 at half time. That defeat sets-up England with a knock-out clash against World Series champions New Zealand on Sunday at 9:28 BST.
England Women’s Sevens Head Coach Maddocks said: “We are through to the quarter-finals, not as we would have liked, but at the end of the day we are still in with a chance in this World Cup. It’s another day tomorrow and we just have to make sure we perform from the first whistle when we play New Zealand.
“We’ve been in this situation before when we have let slip a pool game and we have bounced back – that is the great thing about this group. We’ll learn from it and try and put it right tomorrow. You have got to play the best to win the World Cup and I am sure New Zealand will be really up for it but so will we.”
England Women 15 France Women 0
England’s opening RWC fixture went according to plan with a 15-0 victory over France. France held firm for some time and it took four minutes before England had their first opportunity with Emily Scarratt executing a nice offload to skipper Michaela Staniford.
Worcester’s Kat Merchant added England’s second after the break when she scooped up the ball from a turn-over and then ran 45 minutes up-field. Staniford then rounded off proceedings with a try on full time after a quickly taken tap penalty caught France napping.
England Women 39 Japan Women 0
Photo: Getty Images
As the temperatures soared into the mid-30s in the afternoon, England produced a more fluid game against Japan running in 39-0 winners. In the first play of the game, the ball moved from the left to the right wing and Staniford offloaded to Katy McLean who then scorched her way through to score.
Moments later and Richmond’s Claire Allan added try number two as England’s constant pressure paid off, with McLean adding the extras
Just before half time a lovely floated pass by Mclean saw Staniford show her turn of pace and step her way through Japan’s defence to make the score 19-0.
England’s momentum continued after the restart with Staniford soon securing her fourth try of the tournament before Natasha Hunt added England’s fifth touchdown.
More tries followed for substitutes Joanne Watmore and Kat Merchant taking England’s try tally to seven and the final score 39-0.
England Women 15 Russia Women 17
In England’s third and final game England looked firmly in control in the initial stages with Merchant handing England an early lead. Watmore made the yards and then a good offload to Merchant saw the wing dart through.
Allan added England’s second after a good take from a line out saw Staniford pass inside to Allan who showed tremendous speed to score.
But Russia had looked dangerous throughout and their hard work soon paid off when Marina Petrova showed great determination to muscle over after a barrage of attacks on England’s try line. Russia couldn’t convert and England led 10-5 at half-time.
The second half didn’t go England’s way as Russia raised their game to the occasion. Ekaterina Kazakova scooped the ball up from a ruck and then charged down field and England couldn’t compete with her searing pace.
Another fine break by Russia’s Baizat Khamidova saw England slip behind for the first time and although substitute Marlie Packer hit back for England with a late try the missed conversion meant England had to settle for second place in Pool D.
England Women's results
Tries: Staniford (2), Merchant
England 39 Japan 0
Tries: McLean, Allan, Staniford (2), Hunt, Watmore, Merchant
Conversions: Mclean (2)
England 15 Russia 17
Tries: Merchant, Allan, Packer