- England Head Coach calls for consistency
- Amor wants his charges to savour Hong Kong atmosphere
Simon Amor is adamant England Sevens can mount a challenge for glory in Hong Kong if they manage their emotion and energy over the course of this weekend.
Heading into the tournament on the back of a third-place finish in Tokyo – equalling their best return of the current HSBC Sevens World Series – England stand fourth in the overall standings behind South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji.
The Japanese leg saw five wins from six games, including a superb 31-12 defeat of New Zealand in the play-off for third place. Amor’s charges conceded the least amount of points as well, but the England Head Coach insisted there was room for improvement.
“We’re pleased with how we finished the tournament against a strong New Zealand side. We had a little blip in the quarter final against Canada and played quite poorly there, but with four new players and another couple who are fairly inexperienced, I’m happy all in all.
“The players have worked incredibly hard in the past five months and that self-belief is growing.
“The World Series presents a unique environment – Tokyo is a fantastic tournament but Hong Kong is on another level altogether. It’s a massive opportunity and I’m excited to see how they go.
“We’ve got to be better. We conceded the least amount of points in Tokyo, but we’ve still got to set up. Attacking and decision-making is a big area for us this time round.”
Photo: Getty Images
A four-time past winner in Hong Kong as a player, Amor highlighted consistency and composure as key concerns for his squad.
“It’s difficult to put Hong Kong into words,” he added. “A whole city stops for the tournament, which goes to show how big it is to prevail in front of the raucous South Stand.
“There is history and tradition and the atmosphere is electric. The opportunity to represent England in front of big expat support is wonderful.
“You’ve got to manage the emotions and the energy of the crowd. It’s a three-day event, with one game on the Friday, two on the Saturday and the finals on Sunday – you have to take that into account.
“The first time I won as a player was very special. It was the first time I’d captained England and the first tournament we had won. I’ve had some awesome experiences so hopefully the guys get to enjoy their own this weekend.”
England ousted Argentina 19-12 in their only match on the opening day thanks to a brace of tries from Tom Mitchell and another for James Rodwell on his 50th tournament appearance.
Portugal and Canada await tomorrow to complete the Pool C fixtures, and Amor was under no illusions how difficult it would be to clinch a pair of victories.
“We’ve played Portugal a few times previously this series and we’ve been OK against them,” he explained. “But Pedro Leal is coming back and he’s quality.
“Canada pushed us hard in Tokyo, so they’ll be confident too. We’ll need to perform to earn wins.”