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England to face SA in quarter final after positive Day One

11 May 2013

  • England will face South Africa in the Marriott London Sevens quarter final
  • Comprehensive victories over Fiji and Samoa for Ben Ryan’s side on Day One

England will face South Africa in the quarter finals of the Marriott London Sevens after encouraging performances on Day One at Twickenham Stadium.

Despite slipping to a 26-17 defeat to Argentina in their final Pool C match, convincing victories over Fiji and Samoa meant Ben Ryan’s side topped their group and went into the draw as second seeds.

Dan Norton, who’s running total of 48 is the highest in a single series by an Englishman, scored six tries in the three games while Jeff Williams grabbed four, including a hat trick in the opener against Fiji.

England started the day in sparkling form, defeating the teams ranked third and fourth in HSBC World Series standings, Fiji and Samoa respectively, by an aggregate of 61-7.

Argentina will face world series champions New Zealand, the only team to win all three games, in the quarter finals, while Kenya meet Fiji and Australia will play USA. 

England 17 Argentina 26

England Sevens Marcus Watson on the run against Argentina

Photo: Getty Images

Dan Norton scored his fifth and sixth tries of another lethal performance but it was not enough to prevent England from falling to a 26-17 defeat to Argentina in the final match at the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium.

Los Pumas’ Diego Palma opened the scoring in the first minute, powering through Norton’s tackle to dampen the crowd’s clear enthusiasm at the end of the day. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla added the extras and then eased the visitors into a 14-0 lead after neat hands set him clear.

Norton showed two Argentina defenders a clean pair of heels to scoot in from 60 metres on five minutes but Palma immediately restored the two try advantage, powering through the attempted tackles of Christian Lewis-Pratt and Jeff Williams.

England Sevens huddle around Head Coach Ben Ryan at the Marriott London Sevens

Photo: Getty Images

The first seven minutes showed that possession is everything in sevens and when England enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure after the break Marcus Watson trimmed the deficit to a single score. The playmaker drove through two tackles to race under the posts after the platform of a five-metre scrum.

As Ben Ryan’s side pushed for the leveller, Argentina claimed the match-winning try through Franco Sabato after England conceded possession in their own half. Norton’s consolation with seconds remaining was to no avail, but England will approach the quarter final against Glasgow Sevens champions South Africa in high spirits after scintillating displays in their opening fixtures.

England 34 Samoa 7

England wing Dan Norton scores against Samoa at the Marriott London Sevens

Photo: Getty Images

Dan Norton scored a brilliant hat-trick as England Sevens completed a second comprehensive victory over a Pacific Island giant at the Marriott London Sevens.

After a treble from Jeff Williams inspired Ben Ryan’s side to a 27-0 victory over Fiji in the opening game, Norton took over from the outset against Samoa.

The flying wing, who now has 46 tries this season, wowed the crowd in second minute, chasing back a Samoan breakaway, beating two men when possession was regained, then chipping ahead and re-gathering to score. Christian Lewis-Pratt added the extras before Gloucester-born Norton repeated the trick in the right-hand corner, chipping over the covering defence and dotting down.

But Williams got in on the act too, kicking ahead and then outpacing Norton with his sheer desire to score. Marcus Williams soon added the final try of the half to make it 22-0, with Samoa starved of possession and territory and having no answer to England’s intensity.

However, Samoa got back in the game after the break, running a number of phases before setting Reupena Levasa clear to run in unopposed down the right a minute after the restart.

But in the blink of an eye Norton restored England’s four-try advantage, with the extras added, before replacement Mat Turner’s powerful run and hand-off left fellow substitute Tom Mitchell with the simple task of completing the scoring.

To put these performances into context, England have defeated the teams ranked third (Fiji) and fourth (Samoa) in the HSBC World Series standings by an aggregate score of 61-7. England's final pool game against Argentina, who lost to Fiji 24-0 in their second match, rounds of Day One at 18:09.

England 27 Fiji 0

England Sevens Jeff Williams dives over for the second of his hat-trick against Fiji

Photo: Getty Images

Jeff Williams plundered a stunning first-half hat-trick as dominant England Sevens dismissed Fiji 27-0 in their opening match at the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium.

Ben Ryan’s side dominated possession and territory throughout the match and reaped the rewards, with Dan Norton and replacement Mike Ellery adding the gloss to their most impressive opening to a HSBC World Series tournament for some time.

England opened the scoring after two minutes, Williams grabbing his first after racing clear down the right for his 10th try of the season after lovely interplay between James Rodwell and Christian Lewis-Pratt.

Tries 11 and 12 this term came soon after, the second after a thumping tackle from skipper Rob Vickerman won a penalty at the breakdown deep in Fiji territory and the third after the forward powered through a covering tackle and dived over in the corner.

England Sevens celebrate Mike Ellery's try against Fiji at the Marriott London Sevens

Photo: Getty Images

The visitors had barely set foot in England’s half in the opening seven minutes and HSBC Sevens World Series leading try scorer Norton added his 43rd try of a stellar campaign at the start of the second half, standing up his opposite number and gliding past with ease.

Fly half Lewis-Pratt had failed to convert Williams’ three tries but made no mistake with Norton’s, booting England into a 22-0 lead.

Two replacements combined for the fifth and final try, Tom Mitchell setting Mike Ellery clear to show impressive speed and charge over in the right corner to complete the scoring.