Photo: Martin Seras Lima
Stand-in captain Phil Burgess said England Sevens’ rigorous training schedule had paid off after he slid in for a try to complete a thrilling comeback and secure a 17-15 win over Wales in the Commonwealth Games plate final at Ibrox Stadium.
Burgess’ finish close to the right touchline capped a flowing, length-of-the-field move that began on England 22 with a turnover from James Rodwell. The rangy forward then burst through the middle of the Welsh defence before finding John Brake, who span the ball wide for the winning try.
It was a fitting finale to a day that saw all three of England matches go down to the wire. This time, Amor’s charges had to claw their way back from a 15-7 deficit and Burgess was quick to praise his teammates’ composure as the clock ran down.
“It was a really tiring game and we were pushed right to the end,” he said. “But in training we plan for all sorts of situations and it was one of those where all that preparation paid off.
“[As I was going in for the try] I thought ‘I’m going to have to jump here’ but fortunately I had just enough to slide over.
“I get a bit of stick for sliding in knees first but I thought this time I would dive in forwards. I managed to wind myself in the process, so I don’t know if I will be doing that again in a hurry.”
First-half scores from Lee Williams, Will Harries and Luke Morgan meant Wales had a comfortable lead at the break, England only getting on the board when Dan Bibby – excellent in the playmaker role in the absence of injured Tom Mitchell – scythed through under the posts.
However, Bibby then ignited his team when the second period got underway, executing a slick give-and-take with Burgess before putting Marcus Watson in the clear.
Wales did not bow to the momentum swing and went back on the attack, but England’s improved breakdown work meant they could wrest back possession and set about rescuing the result.
Earlier, England were involved in two more exceptionally close ties, first being ousted from the medal race due to a 15-14 defeat Samoa before clinging on to beat an inspired Scotland 15-12.
The weekend marked Tom Powell's final appearance for England Sevens after an illustrious career than spanned two Commonwealth Games and 40 World Series tournaments.
Following his last outing, he called the Ibrox atmosphere “one of the best” he had ever played in before promising the team would never leave his heart.
“It has been the biggest honour of my life. I feel absolutely privileged to play and represent my country around the world.”
“The guys I have played with have been immense and I love them all to bits and I will be an avid supporter, as I am now, from here on in.”