England hu­mil­i­ated in Lon­don Sevens shocker

Dire 29-14 de­feat rounds off mis­er­able show­ing Au­to­matic Olympic spot now gone for Team GB

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport - By Kate Rowan at Twick­en­ham

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

Celtic unions.

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

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