England: the world champions of coming second

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England captain Tom Mitchell finds himself upside down during the RWC Sevens final

England head coach Simon Amor has delivered an upbeat verdict on his squad’s campaign that ended with defeat in the Rugby World Cup Sevens final.

Amor’s side’s hopes of achieving sevens World Cup glory for the first time since 1993 were dashed by New Zealand in San Francisco.

England, inaugural sevens world champions 25 years ago, reached the final at AT&T Park by beating Samoa, the United States and South Africa.

But they met their match in New Zealand, going down to a 33-12 defeat despite tries from Mike Ellery and Ruaridh McConnochie.

“This marks the end of a very long year, but I am really pleased with the way that we’ve grown as a programme and how the players have grown as well,” Amor said.

“Since the Commonwealth Games, we have won medals at every tournament bar one.

“And alongside that, we’ve got some really exciting young talent coming into the squad, so that is really encouraging as we look ahead to next season.

“It’s obviously disappointing to have missed out on that top spot, but we made a few too many errors and turned the ball over too many times against a very good New Zealand team.

“I am delighted with the way that the guys performed right the way through the tournament. They came through some really close games and played some outstanding Rugby.”

England produced their best performance in the semi-finals, delivering a spectacular display to knock out reigning world series champions South Africa 29-7.

Form in the season-long world series suggested England might have had their work cut out to progress beyond the quarter-finals.

But after edging past Samoa in the round of 16, then winning a thriller against the United States, they moved up a gear.

And England also responded well to the tournament’s straight knockout format, which meant no second chances that would have been offered by a pool-stage system.

Amor added: “The format makes it high-pressured with lots of drama, which is great for all those fans watching.

“As a result of that you have to approach the competition in a different way, and I am really pleased with the way that the guys adapted to this new knockout competition.

“Playing at the venue (AT&T Park) was brilliant. The atmosphere in the stadium was unbelievable right the way through the tournament.”

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All Blacks complete historic double-double for New Zealand at Rugby World Cup Sevens

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All Blacks Sevens celebrate with a haka after winning the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens

The All Blacks Sevens made history by beating England 33-12 to become the first nation to claim the Rugby World Cup Sevens title for the third time in front of a highly engaged and exuberant 40,000 strong crowd at the AT&T Park in San Francisco.

In doing so they secured an unprecedented double-double for New Zealand following the Black Ferns Sevens victory in yesterday’s women’s competition, ensuring that both trophies return to New Zealand for the second Rugby World Cup Sevens in succession.

In a thrilling final, which was a repeat of the 2013 final in Moscow, the All Blacks Sevens proved too strong for a valiant England team.

New Zealand joint captain Scott Curry, named AIG Player of the Final, was delighted with his team’s performance.

“It’s amazing, very hard to put into words. I’m so proud of the boys’ efforts over the weekend – we had four really tough games. Credit to England, who played really well.”

Fellow joint captain Tim Mikkelson added: “It’s huge. We knew it was going to be tough.

“We really rose to beat Fiji and we did well to beat an awesome England team, who were the form team.”

New Zealand were previously Rugby World Cup Sevens champions in 2001 and 2013 while England were looking for their first title since winning the first edition of the competition at Murrayfield in 1993.

Six players on the field were taking part in their second Rugby World Cup Sevens final following their previous match up in the 2013 final, from England – Norton, Rodwell, Mitchell and Ellery – as well as All Blacks Sevens’ Mikkelson and Baker.

Earlier in the day the form book was ripped up as both top seeds were defeated in dramatic semi-finals. South Africa, top seeds and recently crowned HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 title winners, were comprehensively beaten 29-7 by an outstanding England, before Olympic champions and fans favourites Fiji succumbed to New Zealand 22-17 in a pulsating encounter.

Ireland were worthy winners of the challenge trophy, awarded to the ninth-placed team, following their 24-14 victory over Australia, while an overjoyed Chile team secured the bowl trophy awarded to the team finishing in 17th position courtesy of their 20-7 defeat of Hong Kong.

The men’s final brought down the curtain on an action packed three days that saw over 102,000 fans pass through the turnstiles and witness a superb showcase of rugby sevens, building on the success of the sport’s introduction to the Olympic Games at Rio 2016 and creating a big impact in the United States.

After a very well earned break, all eyes will turn to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 which kicks off back in the USA in October with the women’s first round in Glendale, Colorado.

To view the full HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for 2018/19 schedule click here.

FULL REPORTS FROM RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS 2018 HERE >>>

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England win sudden-death thriller against USA to complete RWC Sevens semi-final line-up

Alex Broun 22/07/2018
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England celebrate after their extra-time victory over USA

Defending champions New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa and England all secured semi-final places during a thrilling second day of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 action at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Saturday.

England provided the most dramatic moment of the Championship quarter-finals, needing a piece of utter brilliance from captain Tom Mitchell to beat hosts USA in extra-time.

The scores were locked at 19-19 until Mitchell put up a perfectly-weighted cross-field kick for Phil Burgess to run onto and score the sudden-death winner.

Olympic champions Fiji had earlier put on a masterclass against Argentina with some scintillating tries, while HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 champions South Africa powered past Scotland in their quarter-final.

In contrast, New Zealand had to dig deep to remain in the hunt for a third RWC Sevens crown, overturning three yellow cards in the first half and a half-time deficit to overcome France.

The Championship semi-finals will get underway at 23:40 Sunday evening (UAE time) with South Africa facing England before Fiji meet old rivals New Zealand.

BOWL AND CHALLENGE QUARTER-FINALS

The men’s competition on day two began with the Bowl quarter-finals involving the teams that lost in the preliminary round of matches on Friday.

Tonga and Chile set the tone with a 62-point thriller that Los Condores Sevens came out on top of 33-29.

Elsewhere, there were narrower victories for Uganda over Zimbabwe and Uruguay against Papua New Guinea, while Hong Kong were too strong for Jamaica.

In the Challenge competition quarter-finals, Ireland’s Jordan Conroy dazzled with a hat-trick against Kenya and Australia put their round of 16 loss to France firmly behind them, Henry Hutchison’s brace combining with five other try-scorers for a 41-0 win over Russia to set up a meeting with Canada.

Ireland will now encounter familiar rivals Wales early on Sunday night – 22:34 UAE time.

CHAMPIONSHIP

The Championship quarter-finals concluded the men’s action on Saturday in pulsating fashion as every team knew what was at stake.

South Africa turned up the heat from the word go against Scotland with former World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year Werner Kok imposing himself on the encounter early.

The Blitzboks were clinical in every facet and allowed Scotland hardly any ball in hand, racing into a 36-0 lead with braces by Kok and Justin Geduld before a late consolation try for Scotland with the final play.

Fiji then sent a message of intent with their 43-7 quarter-final win over Argentina and highlighted the quality of their skills and unique offloading abilities.

Semi Radradra was instrumental in two of their first-half tries and his first assist put Kalione Nasoko over after just two minutes.

Los Pumas Sevens hit back once after the break, through Franco Sabato, but it was one way traffic as the side going in search of a third Rugby World Cup Sevens title opened their boxes of tricks.

In the third quarter-final, the All Blacks Sevens found themselves 7-0 down after playing the majority of the first half with just six players on the field due to three separate yellow cards.

A more disciplined second half followed and tries for Kurt Baker and Joe Ravouvou were enough to wrestle the match back from France.

The greatest drama on day two was reserved for the hosts and their last-eight opponents England.

The USA started strongly after Martin Iosefo’s offload neatly found Madison Hughes.

The captain’s conversion created an early 7-0 lead before a Dan Norton double gave England a 12-7 advantage at the break.

Ollie Lindsay-Hague scored straight from the second-half restart but Folau Niua and Perry Baker reeled the 1993 champions back in once again.

With nothing separating the two after normal time, the first sudden death extra-time of RWC Sevens 2013 followed with Mitchell providing the coup de grâce for Burgess to score the winner and spark the English celebrations.

VIEW MEN’s #RWC7S FIXTURES AND RESULTS >>

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