England will play Australia in the Cup quarter-finals of the Sevens World Series in Brazil on Sunday.
In the second round of the World Series, Simon Middleton’s side struggled on day one with a tough pool against South Africa, Russia and Canada, to finish third in their pool.
England opened day one with a convincing 31-5 win over South Africa. Running in three tries in the first half courtesy of Natasha Brennan, Natasha Hunt and Katy Mclean as well as two conversions, England led 19-0 at halt-time.
Joanne Watmore and Amy Wilson Hardy then added tries in the second half, as well as one further conversion, to hand England the win with South Africa crossing just the once.
Russia inevitably proved tougher competition in the next match up with England’s old rivals forcing them to settle for a 17-17 draw. Watmore ran in three tries with Alice Richardson adding a conversion but it wasn’t enough for England to take the win.
England were then left disappointed in their final game of the day against another familiar rival, Canada. Middleton’s side started well with Danielle Waterman running in a well worked try which Mclean converted, but Canada soon hit back, running in three tries to take a 17-7 lead.
England scrambled back two tries through Watmore but Canada were too strong and took the 24-17 win with one further touch down.
Middleton said: “We’ve had a disappointing day. We were distinctly average. Although we got ourselves into good positions we didn’t capitalise on them and we made too made errors. And when you make errors like we did, the opposition take no mercy. This is a very clinical environment. Australia in the quarter-finals will be tough but we know what we are up against with them. Certainly anything below our best will not be good enough to get through to the semi-finals.”
England Sevens squad
Claire Allan (Richmond)
Natasha Brennan (Richmond)
Rachael Burford (VC) (Thurrock)
Abi Chamberlain (C) (Richmond)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Marlie Packer (Wasps)
Alice Richardson (Richmond)
Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Danielle Waterman (Bristol)
Joanne Watmore (Richmond)
Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol)
WSWS Brazil playing schedule
Saturday, February 7
England 31 South Africa 5
Tries: Brennan, Hunt, Mclean, Watmore, Wilson Hardy
Conversions: Mclean (2), Richardson
England 17 Russia 17
Tries: Watmore (3)
England 17 Canada 24
Tries: Waterman, Watmore (2)
Sunday, February 8
Quarter-finals: England v Australia, KO 144pm GMT
Knock out stages TBC