- England run out of gas in the final
- Side moves up to second in World Series rankings
England were unable to make it two Sevens World Series titles on the bounce today (Sunday) after missing out 19-5 to New Zealand in the round three final in Guangzhou, China.
England, who were crowned round two champions in Houston in February, were missing several big name players for this tournament with Head Coach Barry Maddocks choosing to rest the likes of Joanne Watmore and Ruth Laybourn and instead rotating his squad.
England, however, still put on an impressive show cruising into the knock-out stages, conceding just 15 points to China, Fiji and the USA on Saturday.
In the quarter-finals against the Netherlands, the clash didn’t go all England’s way with England only sealing the win in the last play of the game thanks to a late Alex Matthews try. Michaela Staniford also secured a brace of tries in that match.
Canada awaited England in the semi-finals and England really stepped up a gear to nil the Canucks 19-0 with Alex Matthews and Katherine Merchant (two) scoring. Katy McLean added two conversions.
In the final, England started well with the ever threatening Merchant scoring early on but New Zealand soon matched that with a converted try. Kelly Brazier then added a second try for New Zealand on the half time whistle before adding her second and a conversion after the restart. England couldn’t bounce back and instead had to settle for second best this time around.
The loss, however, still sees England move up the World Series rankings into second behind New Zealand. They sit just eight points adrift, which sets up a tasty title chase in the final round in Amsterdam in May.
England Sevens Head Coach Maddocks said: “Overall I am happy with our performance in this tournament. We came to China having made six changes to the squad that won in Houston and the players really stepped up. They also dug deep after a disappointing quarter-final against the Netherlands and put in a strong showing against Canada. Unfortunately, the final was a step too far and New Zealand were too strong this time but we have learnt a lot of valuable lessons this weekend.”
England Women are next in action at the Marriott London Sevens on May 11-12 at Twickenham Stadium where they will be looking to win their second London title on the trot.
Maddocks added: “We have got some six weeks now until the Marriott London Sevens so we’ll go back and review our progress once again. London is an exciting tournament for us and one we are all really looking forward to.”
WSWS China results:
England 5 New Zealand 19
England 19 Canada 0
England 19 Netherlands 12
England 24 China 5
Tries: Packer, Matthews, Thompson, Scarratt
Conversions: McLean, Chamberlain
England 24 Fiji 10
Tries: Merchant (2), Burford, Scarratt
Conversions: McLean (2)
England 19 USA 0
Tries: Merchant, Matthews, Brennan
Conversions: McLean (2)
Claire Allan (Richmond)
Natasha Brennan (Wasps)
Rachael Burford (Thurrock)
Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
Marlie Packer (Bristol)
Emily Scarratt (C) (Lichfield)
Michaela Staniford (VC) (Wasps)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester)