- England Women lose in RWC7s quarter final to New Zealand
- Top seeds suffered Plate final defeat to Australia
England Women’s dreams of lifting a first ever Rugby World Cup Sevens title went up in smoke at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow when they were knocked out of the quarter finals by World Series champions New Zealand.
Going into the tournament as top seeds and runners-up in the World Series England were one of the favourites to contest the title but an upset to hosts Russia in the pool games on Saturday set England up for a tough clash against the formidable New Zealanders who had been hitting form all weekend.
England were never able to get a handle on New Zealand, who had breezed past Canada, the Netherlands and Tunisia in the pool stages before meeting Barry Maddocks’ side in the final eight.
From the first whistle England struggled to find any momentum and constant pressure put them under the cosh. Portia Woodman made England pay the price early on, finding space with relative ease to score whilst try number two courtesy of Sarah Goss when an error at England’s own line-out saw Goss secure the ball and dive over. Kelly Brazier added the conversion to make it 12-0.
England were back in the hunt after a class run from forward Heather Fisher saw her charge 50 metres up-field and score despite New Zealand being hot on her heels. Vice-captain Alice Richardson added the conversion to reduce the deficit to 12-7 at the break.
England had no answer to a ferocious New Zealand team in the second-half though which saw them run in tries with relative ease, brushing off England’s defence. Kelly Brazier added New Zealand’s third score, quickly followed by the ever present Woodman.
The defeat put England into the RWC Plate competition, the title England won four years ago in Dubai, and Maddocks’ side brushed Ireland aside with a more convincing 22-0 victory.
Australia, winners of the 2009 RWC 7s, awaited England in the Plate final and after an hour delay because of a severe thunder storm both teams struggled in the rain-soaked conditions. Australia came out on top with Katrina Barker and Sharni Williams scoring either side of the break. Rachael Burford touched down for England’s sole try.
Maddocks said: “We haven’t performed over the last two days and that is the reality of it really. To win a World Cup you have to perform in every game and we didn’t do that. This is a tough result for us but we didn’t deserve it this weekend.
“We made life hard for ourselves losing to Russia in the pool stages but we even so we knew we had to beat the best at some point in this World Cup and we just didn’t do that. At the moment, it is too soon to reflect on what has gone wrong and that is something we’ll look into.”
England Women's Results
England 5 Australia 14
Plate Semi final
England 22 Ireland 0
Tries: Merchant, Mclean, Watmore, Richardson
Cup Quarter final
England 7 New Zealand 24
England 15 France 0
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