England Women have secured a place in the cup quarter-finals of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai against pool B winners Australia (KO 5.44am GMT).
Earlier in the day England faced Russia in their opening game. England’s Lydia Thompson was first to get points on the board with a try in the second minute. It wasn’t until the final minute of the half before Russia broke through England’s defence with Zdrokova finding the line, however England immediately counter attacked from a perfect restart with another try from Thompson. England led 10-7 at the break.
Fisher gave an ideal start crossing over the whitewash in the opening minute of the second half, however Russia’s Zdrokova again dotted down in the final minute of the half to leave the score line 15-12. A quick restart from Russia secured possession and they found the line once again to win 15-17.
England next faced Australia, ranked number two in last season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings. In the opening minute Deborah Fleming was first to touch down with Megan Jones adding the extras. Australia responded quickly with a try from Dom du Toit and once more with Emma Sykes dotting down under the sticks leaving England trailing 7-12 at the break.
Australia’s try scoring run continued in the second half with Sykes again crossing over followed by a try from Emilee Cherry to leave the final score 7-22 to Australia.
In the final match of the day England beat Japan 26-14. Amy Wilson Hardy was first to dot down with her first try of the tournament. Holly Aitchison soon followed with a try of her own making and Megan Jones added the extras. England soaked up Japan’s continued attacking play, turning over the ball with Amy Wilson Hardy crossing the white wash again to make it 19-0 at the break.
Alex Matthews touched down in the opening minutes of the second half giving England a comfortable 26-0 lead, while Japan scored two tries in the final minutes of the game, but it was too little too late and England secured their first win of the day.
James Bailey, England Women Sevens head coach today said “I have been impressed with the team today; we knew it was going to be a steep learning curve coming into day. We showed certain elements of our core values and who we are as a team.
“We had to learn the hard way against Russia in the first game, we did so much right but it shows, you switch off for one moment at this level and you get punished. Against Australia we did some really good things and we have identified areas in our defence and attack that we can improve on going into tomorrow. We have spoken about being a tough team to beat, in the game against Japan we showed this, defending for 11 phases, turning over the ball over and then scoring, I think it says so much about us.
“This tournament will be an important stepping stone for the rest of the season, we want to constantly learn and improve game on game and are looking forward to getting day two underway.”
England Women Sevens invitational team, playing as the England Royals secured two convincing wins, 32-22 against Randwick Magic and 29-7 against Tabusoro Angels only losing to the Delta Drone Tuks, 5-17, in the last game of the day. The Royals will face Wales in the invitational cup quarter finals tomorrow (KO 7am GMT).
James Cooper, RFU Performance pathway officer today said “We are really pleased to get into the cup quarter-finals, it’s is a great achievement for a team that has come together this week ahead of the tournament. More importantly though we can see the team coming together, understanding each other’s strengths and beginning to build performances which is really pleasing.”
England Women squad, Dubai
1. Claire Allan (Capt)
2. Alex Matthews
3. Lydia Thompson
4. Katie Mason
5. Emily Scarratt
6. Deborah Fleming
7. Heather Fisher
8. Emily Scott
9. Chantelle Miell
10. Megan Jones
11. Holly Aitchison
12. Amy Wilson Hardy
Schedule Pool B results
Thursday 30th November
England 15- 17 Russia
Tries: Thompson (2), Fisher
England 7 -22 Australia
England 26 – 14 Japan
Tries: Amy Wilson Hardy (2), Aitchison, Matthews
Cons: Jones (3)
England Women Sevens invitational team, The Royals
Kate Alder, Vicky Fleetwood, Olivia Jones, Millie Wood, Rachel Laqeretabua, Ella Wyrwas, Cara Brincat, Kelly Smith, Lilian Stoger-Goddard, Amelia Harper, Emma Hardy, Sophie Tandy
Report courtesy of the RFU