England men have won the bronze medal in Dubai in the opening leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after beating Fiji in their final game.
After winning Pool B on day one with three wins from three, Simon Amor's side faced Australia in the last eight and progressed with a 26-19 win, but despite Ruaridh McConnochie's early score they lost narrowly 5-14 against New Zealand, but recovered to beat the Fijians 28-21.
In a tight final, Tom Bowen’s hitch kick and burst of pace put England ahead after 40 seconds but Fiji responded to level through their own try, and then take the lead when Vatemo Ravouvou intercepted Will Edwards’ pass.
England’s running lines and offloading saw Phil Burgess stroll in, before Tom Mitchell’s introduction to the game as a replacement sent McConnochie through as five tries were scored in the first seven minutes, but England had the edge 21-14.
In arguably the try of the match, some lovely interplay and offloads between Bowen and Burgess sent Bowen in for his second, before Josua Vakurunabili’s interception got Fiji to within one score.
However, England held out to finish third in the tournament ahead of the second round of the series in Cape Town next weekend.
Last gasp winner
In the semi-final, it was a tense clash with New Zealand but Ruaridh McConnochie got England off to the perfect start as he took Mitchell's pass and opened up to score out wide.
The All Backs wing Joseva Ravouvou scored twice though in an end-to-end game as they clinched a place in the final, where they lost to winners South Africa.
Earlier in the day, England beat Australia in the quarter-final where Dan Norton, who ended the tournament as joint top try scorer Norton pounced on a bouncing, loose pass and gathered his own kick ahead to dot down under the sticks.
Tom Mitchell got England's third following James Rodwell break, but Australia's converted try meant the game was level at 19-19, but, with the clock dead, captain Mitchell’s break through the middle got behind the defence and found Harry Glover to secure a dramatic win.
In the invitational tournament the England Sevens academy played under the banner of The Royals and were in the cup quarter-final after their performances on day one..
After suffering a 12-17 defeat from The Froggies, they went on to play Ireland in the fifth place play-off semi-final where they lost 5-24 to finish in sixth place.
England Sevens academy coach Warren Abrahams commented: "You only have to look at the senior team out here where you’ll see four of the guys who have come through the academy and are now playing on the World Series, and that’s what it’s all about.”
England Sevens squad:
Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Richard de Carpentier, Will Edwards, Harry Glover, Ben Howard, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Tom Mitchell (c), Ruaridh McConnochie, Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Ethan Waddleton.
Dubai day one results:
Pool B - England 28-0 Spain
Pool B - England 14-12 France
Pool B - England 29-0 Scotland
Dubai day two results:
Cup quarter-final: England 26-19 Australia
Cup semi-final: England 5-14 New Zealand
Bronze final: England 28-21 Fiji