Source: Mike Lee

England defeat Japan to win World Cup Challenge Final

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England Women defeated Japan 29-5 to win the Challenge final at Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.

Having been defeated by Ireland in their opening game of the tournament and knocked out of the Championship contest, England defeated Mexico and China to reach the Challenge final.

Source: Mike Lee

Holly Aitchison (Photo: Mike Lee)

In their final game of the tournament England started well and Holly Aitchison scored in the corner before captain Abbie Brown powered through midfield to touch down under the posts for 12-0.

Yume Hirano reduced the deficit to seven points at the break but midway through the second half Deborah Fleming flew down the left wing for a third England try.

Although Jess Breach was sin binned, England extended their lead further and Natasha Hunt was the grateful recipient of Brown’s offload to score a fourth try with Sarah McKenna completing the scoring.

“I’m immensely proud of how the girls picked themselves up and bounced back after their loss to Ireland at the beginning of this tournament,” said England Women Sevens head coach James Bailey.

“They delivered three really good performances and to get through three games and only concede five points shows some great skill and is really promising.

“Naturally we all want to see results but I truly believe that we are building something special as a group, however these things take time. There’s lots of promise, we know we’ve got a lot of hard work to do but we’re prepared to continue putting that work in to achieve what we believe this team is capable of.”

In the Challenge semi-final against China first half tries from Abbie Brown and Natasha Hunt combined with Holly Aitchison’s conversion gave England a 17-0 lead at the break.

Second-half scores via Emily Scarratt, Amy Wilson Hardy and Jess Breach with the final play of the game, plus a further three conversions from Aitchison, sealed victory to set up the meeting with Japan.

England Women Sevens’ results:

Round of 16: England Women Sevens 14-19 Ireland Women
Tries: Emily Scarratt, Alex Matthews

Challenge quarter-final: England Women Sevens 59-0 Mexico Women
Tries: Jess Breach (3), Deborah Fleming, Emily Scarratt, Holly Aitchison, Heather Fisher, Claire Allan, Vicky Fleetwood

Challenge semi-final: England Women 38-0 China Women
Tries: Abbie Brown, Natasha Hunt (2), Emily Scarratt, Amy Wilson Hardy, Jess Breach

Challenge final: England Women 29-5 Japan
Tries: Holly Aitchison, Abbie Brown, Deborah Fleming, Natasha Hunt, Sarah McKenna

England Women Sevens squad for Rugby World Cup Sevens:

Holly Aitchison
Claire Allan
Jess Breach
Abbie Brown ©
Heather Fisher
Vicky Fleetwood
Deborah Fleming
Natasha Hunt
Alex Matthews
Sarah McKenna
Emily Scarratt
Amy Wilson Hardy

Courtesy of the RFU