England Women Sevens will face World Series champions New Zealand in the quarter-finals of final series leg in Amsterdam on Saturday after two wins from three today.
England made their way through to the final eight despite a 24-7 defeat to London champions Australia in their final group match. Earlier, Simon Middleton’s charges bagged six tries to overturn Russia 40-5, complementing a clinical 56-0 thrashing of China in their opening match of the tournament.
However, Australia started accurately and quickly ran up a 14-0 advantage after Alicia Quirk and Emma Tonegato dotted down. Emily Scarratt stretched over to reduce the deficit on the stroke of half-time and Katy Mclean’s superb conversion gave England hope of rescuing a result.
But Australia turned the screw and maintained their excellent form with Tonegato sealing a brace before Evania Pelite put the game beyond doubt.
Needing to finish above both the USA and France on the World Series ladder to secure automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games on behalf of Great Britain, England’s quarter-final tomorrow is a crucial game. Rivals USA, who defeated New Zealand in the pool stages, meanwhile will take on France in another huge match.
Middleton: “Saturday is a big day. We have to put in a big performance to get the result we need. We know New Zealand are beatable after their defeat to the USA and we played well against China and Russia. Against Australia we were not aggressive enough in the breakdown and gave away the ball too easily but they are all things we can put right ahead of tomorrow.”
England Women Sevens squad
Rachael Burford (Thurrock)
Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond, captain)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Marlie Packer (Wasps)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Joanne Watmore (Richmond)
Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol)
Kay Wilson (Thurrock)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens)
Claire Allan (Richmond)
England Results from Day 1
England 56-0 China
Tries: Hunt, Wilson-Hardy (2), Watmore, Wilson, Chamberlain, Hunt, Scarratt
Conversions: Mclean (4), McKenna (4)
England 40-5 Russia
Tries: Hunt (2), Wilson-Hardy, Chamberlain, Packer, Watmore
Conversions: Mclean (4), McKenna
Australia 24-7 England
Day 2 Playing Schedule: May 23
Quarter-Finals: England v New Zealand, KO 9:22am