- England finish strongly against Germany after narrowly losing out to Georgia and Spain
- The European Series will be of real value to our young players - Amor
Photo: Getty Images
England’s young side finished seventh in the opening round of the FIRA-AER European Grand Prix Sevens Series in Lyon this weekend.
They rounded off the weekend strongly with a 26-5 win over Germany but scores in the last play of the game by Georgia (19-12) and Spain (21-14) proved too much in the cup quarter- and plate semi-final.
Debutants featured prominently on the score sheet on day two with Alex Davis (Loughborough Students), Cameron Cowell (Harlequins Academy), Mark Bright (London Scottish) and new full-time signing Tom Bowen all touching down.
Head Coach Simon Amor said: “This weekend has proven that the FIRA European Series will be of real value to our young players coming through and can be the stepping stone for them onto the HSBC Sevens World Series.
“The improvement in Davies, Cowell and Cheeseman was evident over the six games and the latter two will be able to take that experience into next season with their Premiership Academies and into representation with England’s age grade teams.
“I was also pleased with the development of Bright who showed good understanding of the role we would want him to play within our systems and structures if he is to push for a place within the Commonwealth Games squad.
“It is always disappointing to lose in the final minutes of a game but the conditioning of the new players and their understanding of how to handle those situations will continue to improve. The European nations are getting better and better which pitches our young guys against older more experienced players and really challenges them.”
Mat Turner and Christian Lewis Pratt scored England’s tries in the first game of the weekend as they lost out narrowly to eventual finalists Belgium 14-12. The game proved costly though, Chris Cracknell and Sam Blanchet ruled out of the rest of the tournament with injury.
England Under 18 player Henry Cheeseman impressed against a strong Scotland outfit. He claimed both tries as England went down 33-14 before bouncing back against Wales to earn third place in their pool and qualification for Sunday’s cup quarter final.
Tries for Wilson, Gray, Bowen, Lewis-Pratt and a third of the day for Cheeseman created a convincing 40-14 victory over the fellow home nation.
Hosts France lifted the tournament trophy after beating Belgium 40-10 and Spain overcame Russia 19-14 in the third place play-off. The Lyon leg forms the first in a four part European Grand Prix Sevens Series: Moscow (June 28-29), Manchester (September 13-14) and Bucharest (September 20-21).
Christian Lewis Pratt