England humiliated in London Sevens shocker
Dire 29-14 defeat rounds off miserable showing Automatic Olympic spot now gone for Team GB
England suffered a humiliating end to the London Sevens as they finished 14th out of 16 teams, which means Team GB will miss out ut on automatic qualification for r the Tokyo Olympic Games.
England represent Team GB in the Olympic qualification process, ocess, but after an emphatic 29-14 defeat by Japan, who are fighting g for World Series survival, Simon Amor’s side will have to go through rough European qualification with a seeding tournament in Russia before fore a winner-takes-all competition n in Colomiers, France, in mid-july. y.
England were missing 10 out of 19 players for the Twickenham nham tournament, including captain n and playmaker Tom Mitchell, fellow Rio veteran Dan Bibby and the e likes of Alex Davis and Harry Glover. r.
Amor said: “Our focus is now ow on Europe and Olympic qualification. ation. It was very tough with what t happened in the World Series, but t with a lot of injuries, if we pick up one or two more, we would be really struggling.”
England’s bizarre form at Twickwickenham, which included beating eating New Zealand in the pool stage then losing to Japan for the first time and Ireland, who will only become a core World Series side next season, mirrors the roller-coaster they have endured off the field.
As well as the injury crisis and Amor having to draft in Tom Emery from Northampton just weeks before the London tournament, there had also been the saga over the future of England sevens.
The Sunday Telegraph revealed yesterday that despite the Rugby Football Union’s desire to scrap the sevens programme in a cost-cutting move and amal- gamate with Scotland and
Wales as a Team
GB side, these plans were scuppered due to resistance from the two
Another blow this season was the loss of highly rated defence coach Tony Roques, who was seen as instrumental in England’s strong performances over a number of years, including winning bronze at the Commonwealth
Games and silver at the
Rugby World Cup Sevens last year, as well as Team GB’S Olympic silver three years ago. Roques is now part of the United States back-room staff, and it would seem his influence has continued as the Americans will look to win a historic first World Series title in Paris next weekend, although they are behind Fiji, who won the London Sevens with a 43-7 drubbing of Australia in the final. Due to the RFU’S financial difficulties, Roques was not replaced, and Amor took over defensive duties, which he admitted was a stretch. However, England and the world’s most-capped sevens p player of all time, James Rodwell, w who is due to retire from playing a at the end of the season after being contracted in a player-coach role, role will take up a full-time coaching role across the men’s and wom women’s sevens programmes from next season. Olympic qual qualification will be far from easy for Englan England, as France and Ireland, who finished fo fourth and sixth respectiv respectively, perform performed better than them. The Ireland cap captain, Billy Da Dardis, whose side beat England, bel believes they can do so again in T Tokyo qualification.
Dejected: England’s Femi Sofolarin after defeat by Japan