England Women have finished fourth in the 2015/16 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, following a same-place finish in the final round at Clermont-Ferrand on Sunday.
Having topped Pool A on day one, the side were unable to continue their winning run on the second day of competition, having been denied their second final in as many tournaments by eventual winners Canada.
Having lost to the side in the opening pools in Langford, England went down 10-31 this time in Sunday’s semi-final. Kay Wilson opened the scores for England with Abbie Brown coming off the bench to put down in the second half but Canada proved too good, scoring five times.
England then faced New Zealand in the third-place play off, going down 5-22 at the final whistle. New Zealand took charge from the outset and, despite a try from Natasha Brennan following a break from Heather Fisher, England were trailing 5-12 at the end of the first half. That deficit grew with the Black Ferns scoring again in the second, with a loose ball providing them with a final try at the whistle.
Head Coach Simon Middleton said: “These tournaments are all about day two. We were pretty good this morning against the USA but had a disappointing game against Canada, who had a great day two. After the win in Langford, we are a bit disappointed to finish fourth.
“However, I asked the girls to show character and they did, digging in really well against a very strong New Zealand side.”
Victories over USA (26-7), Kenya (22-0) and Spain (26-7) on Saturday had secured England’s path into the quarter-finals of the Cup where they faced a re-match against United States.
England led 14-0 at the break with tries from Brennan and Emily Scarratt with Katy Mclean converting both. After the break Scarratt bounced off a tackle to score her second before the US staged a mini fight-back leaving the final scores 21-12.
The weekend’s results mean that at the end of the Series England dropped one place in the overall standings, despite finishing on the same score as tournament winners Canada, due to a 9 point difference. Having won three legs, Australia were today crowned champions ahead of New Zealand.
With just over two months until rugby sevens makes its Olympic debut, Middleton added: “We’ve got players who have played consistently well throughout the year and a really strong squad to take to Brazil. There’s a lot of competition for places, including among those still back home.
“This Series we have gone from being a Plate-playing side to a Cup-winning side which is where we wanted to be. We recognise that we’re still developing, but with a couple of months left to do the fine tuning, we’re where we need to be.”
Third place play-off
England 5 – 22 New Zealand
Cup semi final
England 10 – 31 Canada
Tries: Brown, Wilson
Cup quarter final
England 21 – 12 USA
Tries: Brennan, Scarratt (2)
Conversions: Mclean (3)
Day one pool results:
England 26 – 7 USA
Tries: Brennan, Fisher (2), Hunt
Conversions: Mclean (3)
England 22 – 0 Kenya
Tries: Scott, Waterman, Wilson, Wilson Hardy
England 26 – 7 Spain
Tries: Scott, Wilson (2), Wilson Hardy
Conversions: Hunt, Mclean, Scott
England squad Clermont-Ferrand
Claire Allan, Natasha Brennan, Abbie Brown, Heather Fisher, Natasha Hunt, Katy Mclean, Alice Richardson, Emily Scarratt (C), Emily Scott, Danielle Waterman, Kay Wilson, Amy Wilson Hardy
Report courtesy of England Rugby