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England Sevens were beaten by New Zealand in the fifth place semi-final at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney as their tournament came to an end.
After finishing second in Pool C played over the first two days of competition, England lost 0-10 to Argentina in the Cup quarter-final and although they held the lead at the break, went down 5-10 to the All Blacks.
The results mean England are ranked joint seventh with Kenya for their efforts in Sydney and take 10 points towards their World Series ranking ahead of Hamilton 7s next weekend.
A superb defensive effort from Tom Mitchell kept New Zealand out early on as he got his hands under the ball as the Kiwis thought they had scored, and the captain was at it again a few minutes later as his last ditch tackle in the corner caused a knock-on.
In their first real foray into the Kiwi half, Ethan Waddleton burrowed under a couple of tackles out wide for what turned out to be the only score in the first seven minutes.
England's defence was finally breached as Luke Marisewa dotted down and Joe Ravouvou showed pace around the outside as the All Blacks secured the lead for the first time.
FT: England 5-10 New Zealand— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) January 28, 2018
Despite @ethan_waddleton's opener, two tries in the second-half mean England's #Sydney7s tournament is now over as they lose in the fifth place semi-final. pic.twitter.com/QLlDA0SCH7
With time dead, England through wave after wave of attacks at New Zealand but the men in black held out to face Fiji to decide who will finish fifth in Sydney.
“It’s obviously disappointing to once again be on the wrong end of some really close score lines,” said Head of England Sevens Simon Amor.
“The boys worked very hard and we were defending brilliantly on this last day against some great teams, but our attacking game is just not quite clicking at the moment.
"It was frustrating losing Alex Davis at the start of the tournament through injury and we really feel for him, as well as losing Dan Bibby for day three – but he’ll be back and available for us again in Hamilton.”
Looking ahead to the HSBC Hamilton Sevens on 3-4 February, Amor added: “A three-day event is pretty gruelling for all the teams involved here so rest and recovery over the next few days is also going to be really important. As well as looking to make some improvements in our attacking game going into next weekend.”
England started the day without Dan Bibby after he was cited for a clear out against South Africa, and playing in their changed black strip, they were were behind inside the first minute as Conrado Roura broke through.
Clever footwork put Lautaro Bazan Velez in for a second score as England could not find any rhythm and were 0-10 down at the break.
The match turned into a scrappy affair in the second-half as neither side seemed able to generate any momentum to put pressure on the opposition's try line.
Simon Amor made a number of replacements, but despite a brave rally in the closing stages, England exited the Cup competition and will now take on New Zealand in the fifth place semi-finals.
The tournament took place over three days and England got off to a solid start with a 22-10 win over Spain in the only game of day one, with Alex Davis scoring twice on his return from injury.
However, that was his last involvement because of an ankle injury as Ryan Olowofela came if for his World Series debut and he featured on day two as England beat Papua New Guinea 35-5 but then went down to world champions South Africa 12-33.
England Sevens squad:
Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Richard de Carpentier, Mike Ellery (Saracens), Ruaridh McConnochie, Tom Mitchell ©, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Ethan Waddleton, Ryan Olowofela.
Pool C - England 22-10 Spain
Pool C - England 35-5 Papua New Guinea
Pool C - England 12-33 South Africa
Cup quarter-final - England 0-10 Argentina
Fifth place semi-final - England 5-10 New Zealand