- England win all three pool matches on day one in Tokyo
- Amor's men take on Canada in the quarter-finals
Photo: Getty Images
England made a perfect start on day one in Tokyo to top pool D with wins over Scotland (36-0), Spain (29-0) and Australia (24-21).
The clean sweep means they play pool A runners-up Canada in tomorrow’s quarter-finals (KO 2:12am GMT) and avoid HSBC Sevens World Series reigning champions New Zealand, who play Australia after beating Canada 22-17 in the final minutes to win that opposing pool.
Both James Rodwell and Marcus Watson touched down twice as England put six tries past Scotland before captain Tom Mitchell picked up a hat-trick in the win over Spain.
In keeping with recent encounters between England and Australia (it was a narrow 26-24 victory for England last time the two sides met in Las Vegas in January) the final match of pool D was nail-bitingly close.
Having kept a clean sheet in the first two matches, England fell behind 14-7 at half-time with only Dan Norton scoring his 152nd career try and Tom Mitchell converting to keep them in the game.
Photo: Getty Images
Australia extended their lead to 21-7 less than 30 seconds into the second half when Jesse Parahi touched down and Greg Jeloudev added the extras to take his match tally to 12 points.
Momentum then changed as a determined England side fought back with tries from Watson and former Cornish Pirate Phil Burgess before Australia’s captain Ed Jenkins was sent off. Benefiting from the one man advantage, and with less than two minutes remaining, Burgess grabbed his second to clinch the win.
With four players (Jack Clifford, Sam Stanley, Jack Blanchet and Jack Walsh) making their HSBC Sevens World Series debut this weekend, Simon Amor said: “We are really pleased with today, especially with the new boys who have come into the side. We have been working hard on our defence and identity and it was good to see that evident on the field.”
It was however the experienced faces who got England off to a strong start with Rodwell, Watson, Mitchell and Norton all on the score sheet against Scotland.
Battling to maintain core status on the World Series, Spain held out for the first five minutes against England and were almost the first to score after a 10-pass play. But Burgess struck and Dan Bibby ran in an 80-metre breakaway try as the hooter went giving England a 12-0 half-time lead.
Spain enjoyed a decent amount of possession in the second half but three tries from Tom Mitchell and a conversion from Series debutant Sam Stanley put England out of sight.
Highlights from day one: Sky Sports 3 at 1:30pm today. Coverage of day two: Sky Sports 4 from 5am-8:30am tomorrow.