England Women Sevens will face New Zealand in the Cup quarter-final at the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Langford, Canada.
In their pool opener against Fiji, despite England taking the lead with their first attack of the game, the Pacific Island side ran in four tries in a 14-24 win.
England were beaten by pool winners New Zealand 0-22 but finished strongly to secure a last eight place with a 31-17 victory over Brazil as they secured third place in the pool.
The game against New Zealand is on Sunday 13 May at 18:26 BST and will be live streamed on the World Rugby website here with the finals on Sky Sports.
Against Fiji England were ahead inside the opening minute when Heather Fisher broke two tackles and sprinted in from distance, but then had to go defend as Fiji dominated possession.
However their defence was eventually broken as Asinate Savu scored out wide for the Fijians, before two Luisa Tisolo tries saw them lead 17-7 at half time.
As James Bailey’s side pressed forward, a loose pass was pounced on by Fiji for their fourth score under the posts.
There were further try-scoring opportunities created by England but it took until the last play of the game for a second try as Alex Matthews hit an excellent line back on the inside.
In their second match, England pressed in the opening stages but it was New Zealand who took the lead as Michaela Blyde broke through to dot down.
New Zealand, who are ranked second in the World Series this year, did the majority of defending in the first half as England dominated the ball, but a quick tap penalty and break saw Tyla Nathan-Wong get their second score.
Niall Williams’ interception got New Zealand’s third try before Blyde’s second was secured after some smart handling work.
Knowing they had to win their final pool match to be in with a chance of reaching the Cup quarter-finals, England conceded to Brazil in the first minute.
However, tries from Emily Scott and Deborah Fleming gave England a 12-7 lead at the break.
Brazil struck back with two tries to take the lead again before England’s strong finishing gave them the win.
Two tries from captain Abbie Brown and another from Fleming secured a 31-17 victory and a chance to face New Zealand again in the quarter-finals.
England Women Sevens head coach James Bailey commented, “We didn’t really get the performance we were looking for against Fiji today. We played some decent stuff in attack against New Zealand but unfortunately there were a few times that we switched off in defence and obviously a quality team like New Zealand will capitalise on those opportunities.
“We made life tough for ourselves against Brazil but I’m definitely proud of the girls sticking in it and finding a way to win and doing enough to make the quarter-final stage.
“The key thing for us is to rest up the bodies and minds and come back fighting tomorrow.”
England Women Sevens squad:
Abbie Brown ©, Heather Fisher, Victoria Fleetwood, Deborah Fleming, Olivia Jones, Katie Mason, Alex Matthews, Sarah McKenna, Chantelle Miell, Emily Scott, Lydia Thompson, Millie Wood.
England’s fixtures (all times BST):
Pool A: England 12-24 Fiji
Tries: Heather Fisher, Alex Matthews
Pool A: England 0-22 New Zealand
Pool A: England 31-17 Brazil
Tries: Emily Scott, Deborah Fleming (2), Abbie Brown (2)
Cup quarter-final: England v New Zealand (18:26)
Courtesy of the RFU