England Women Sevens will play Australia in the cup quarter final of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens series in Dubai after finishing third in Pool B on day one.
The first meeting of the new season began with defeat for England where they conceded two late tries for a narrow 15-17 loss to Russia, they were unable to overcome a clinical Australian outfit as they lost 7-22 but ended the day on a high as they beat Japan 26-14.
In their opening game in the Dubai sunshine, and of the new sevens season, England looked comfortable against Russia as Lydia Thompson opened the scoring with a smart finish following some patient build-up work.
Thompson, nominated for World Rugby’s women’s player of the year after her 10 tries in 2017, got her second after showing her pace around the outside.
However, after Heather Fisher crossed for a 17-5 lead, two late Russia tries meant Russia narrowly beat James Bailey’s side as they won by two points by scoring on the last play of the game.
In the second match, Deborah Fleming put England ahead early on against the Australians but they hit back twice in the first half to lead 12-7 at the break.
Another two scores from the eventual Pool B winners in the second half saw them pool away from England.
Knowing they had to win to stand any chance of a place in the cup quarter final, England finally produced some of the finishing that their rugby had threatened for most of the day
Amy Wilson Hardy hit an excellent line to open the scoring from a Holly Aitchison pass, before Aitchinson showed lovely footwork for her first try of the tournament.
✈— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 29, 2017
The first England Women Sevens player diary of the season pic.twitter.com/G4C2QAIZvR
A second from Wilson Hardy and Alex Matthews crossing took England four tries up before two late consolation scores for Japan, one which was scored when Emily Scott was in the sin bin.
As well as the England Women senior team, an invitational team has also been competing in Dubai, named The Royals.
They won their first two pool games as they beat Randwick Magic 34-22 and then Tabusoro Angels Inter 29-7, but were beaten 5-17 in their final game by Delta Drone Tuks Ladies 7s.
They will now face Wales’ team who are competing in the tournament in the cup quarter final on Friday at 7:00 GMT.
England Women Sevens squad:
Claire Allan (c), Alex Matthews, Lydia Thompson, Katie Mason, Emily Scarratt, Deborah Fleming, Heather Fisher. Emily Scott, Chantelle Miell, Megan Jones, Holly Aitchison, Amy Wilson Hardy.
Dubai day one results:
Pool B - England 15-17 Russia
Pool B - England 5-22 Australia
Pool B - England 26-14 Japan