England Women Sevens finished second at the HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens after being defeated 7-5 by Canada in the Cup final.
It was England who struck first after Megan Jones broke through on the short side before Amy Wilson Hardy forced her way across the line for the only try of the half.
In a close second period England demonstrated phenomenal defence but late on Bianca Farella powered down the left wing before finding Ghislaine Landry in the midfield who went in under the posts setting up an easy conversion and the win for Canada.
They had progressed through to the last four having earlier beaten Australia and a tense semi-final saw James Bailey’s side progress.
In the semi-final France were first to cross with Grace Okemba finishing off a sweeping move for an early score before captain Abbie Brown crossed in the corner and Holly Aitchinson’s conversion gave England a two-point lead.
Anne Cecile Ciofani burst through the middle for a second France score but Emma Uren levelled on the stroke of half time after relentless England pressure.
Ciofani looped round the left wing for a third France score before Brown went the length of the field to give England the lead and despite late pressure they held on for victory.
Earlier they sealed a comfortable 21-7 victory over Australia leading 7-0 at the break through Alex Matthews who bounced off two defenders to score under the posts.
Helena Rowland then cut a beautiful line in the centre for a second England try of the match and Aitchison’s interception off Emma Tonegato’s pass gave them a 21-0 advantage.
Australia crossed late on through Emma Tonegato but it was mere consolation.
England Women Sevens head coach James Bailey commented: “I couldn’t be more proud of the girls’ effort over this weekend and the past weeks and months where we’ve had to dig in, regroup and back each other up. Everything we’ve done today has been based on the exceptional work rate and effort of the staff and players.
“We needed a bit of time for some of these young girl who have been outstanding with everything they’ve done to get some experience of playing on the world stage; we can’t forget that the majority of the squad are under the age of 23 but the future is so exciting. We’re on journey and this is very much still the start.”
England 5-7 Canada
Tries: Amy Wilson Hardy
England 19-17 France
Tries: Abbie Brown (2), Emma Uren
Tries: Alex Matthews, Helena Rowland, Holly Aitchison
England 7-43 USA
Tries: Helena Rowland
England 31-0 Ireland
Tries: Alex Matthews, Celia Quansah, Holly Aitchison, Emma Uren, Lizzie Adam
England 35-15 Fiji
Emma Uren, Amy Wilson Hardy, Megan Jones, Holly Aitchison, Celia Quansah
England Women Sevens squad for Kitakyushu:
Abbie Brown ©
Amy Wilson Hardy
Courtesy of the RFU