England stay on course for silver
ENGLAND finished Day One unbeaten in Paris to set up a quarter-final clash against the USA this morning.
With the World Series ending at Twickenham next week, South Africa have the series crown wrapped up but Simon Amor’s men are desperate to overhaul Fiji in the overall standings and finish second for the first time since 2006.
That year, Amor was part of the England side that won the 30th Hong Kong Sevens – and the coach was Mike Friday, who is now in charge of USA, who have hit form recently by reaching the final of the last tournament in Singapore.
England saw off Spain (31-0) and France (24-5) but a 12-12 draw with Kenya prevented them from claiming a perfect record.
“We put everything into the first two games to make sure we qualified,” said James Rodwell. “The boys are pretty happy with performances so we’ll get back to the hotel and assess things before the quarters.”
Taking on the hostile Parisian crowd head on, England secured their place in the last eight with a four-try win over France in their second game.
A long-distance try within the opening seconds from Tom Bowen calmed the crowd before Dan Norton made it 12-0 at the break. Ollie Lindsay-Hague added a third and skipper Tom Mitchell finished the job with a fourth.
Mitchell said: “I’ve played in France before and you know you are always going to be up against a passionate crowd but this was next level. It was an amazing occasion to be part of and I’m pleased we came out with the result.”
Earlier, they dispatched Spain with a five-try thumping. Callum Sirker (2) sent them on their way and there was a try apiece for Dan Bibby, Norton and Bowen.
Englandy could not make it three wins, however, as tries from Ruaridh McConnochie and Bibby were matched by Kenya for a draw in the final game.
For the fifth consecutive tournament, Wales failed to make it out of the group stages as they went down to New Zealand and the USA in their opening two games.
Luke Morgan scored their only try against the Kiwis who went over for four themselves before six American tries, including a brace from flier Perry Baker, got the better of Wales in their second game despite a double from Lloyd Evans.
Wales finished the day with a win as tries from Owen Jenkins (2), Sam Cross, Ben Roach, Ethan Davies, Billy McBryde and Lloyd Lewis helped them to a 47-28 win over Argentina.
All their hopes will now focus on the Challenge Trophy, which they won in Singapore, with a quarterfinal against Spain this morning.
The day started with two huge surprises in the opening round of games as Samoa stunned Fiji 19-17 while Scotland beat Series leaders South Africa 19-12.
The Scots backed it up against Canada, the winners of the Singapore leg, and then defeated Japan to finish the day on top of Pool A with a quarter-final clash with Fiji to come.
Reaching out: Tom Bowen stretches to score against France