- England to face Papua New Guinea in Challenge semi-final
- My sevens journey: Amy Wilson Hardy - read
England Women Sevens finished third in Pool B on the opening day of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens in Sydney.
In their opening fixture against USA, finalists in the last round in Dubai, England ran in four tries for a 28-24 win, but went down 12-33 in the game against New Zealand and rounded off day one with a narrow 10-17 loss against Japan.
Into the Breach
England got their day off to the best possible start after just a minute when a powerful burst and fend from Heather Fisher put her through to score. A second was added after a lovely step from Holly Aitchison saw her break the line and burst through to sprint home, but a USA try before the break meant the scores sat at 14-7.
Here's what #England7s have been up to this week ahead of the #Sydney7s...— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) January 25, 2018
Watch England Women in action tonight against @USASevensRugby at 23:44 GMT, live on https://t.co/QsjM1UfQlV pic.twitter.com/MOHiy3oL6v
Naya Tapper’s second score for the USA levelled the game at 14 all after half-time, before the introduction Jess Breach changed the game as she made her first World Series appearance since her full-time switch to the sevens programme. She grabbed her first as Aitchison again broke the line with a superb dummy and the ball was worked to Breach who showed superb pace to sprint around the outside to dot under the posts.
Her second was from a lofted wide pass by captain Emily Scarratt, and Breach again comfortably outpaced the defenders. Tapper's got her hat-trick as the clock went dead for USA, but four from four with the boot, three from Holly Aitchison and one from Emily Scott, meant England ran out winners by four points.
That opening game would end up being England's only win on day one as they were were made to chase their opponents in their next two pool games.
New Zealand were 14-0 up at half-time in second match, and despite second-half tries from Deborah Fleming and Breach's third of the day, Portia Woodman's hat-trick helped the eventual pool winners the Kiwis to a five-try victory.
In the third game of the day, Amy Wilson Hardy's first try of the tournament, after a show of superb strength by Fisher, kept the opening seven minutes tight but Japan led 14-5 at the break. Saya Suzuki got Japan's third and despite a late rally by James Bailey's side as Lydia Thompson crossed, it was a 10-17 defeat as England finished third in the pool.
England have reach the quarter-final of the Challenge competition and will now face Papua New Guinea who have lost all three of their games so far in Sydney.
The game will kick-off on Friday 26 January at 10pm GMT and you can watch the action live Sky Sports Action and also via the live stream via WorldRugby.org.
England Womens Sevens squad for Sydney:
Jess Breach, Abbie Brown, Lydia Thompson, Emily Scarratt (c), Sarah McKenna, Deborah Fleming, Heather Fisher, Emily Scott, Alex Matthews, Megan Jones, Holly Aitchison, Amy Wilson Hardy.
Pool B - England 28-24 USA
Pool B - England 12-33 New Zealand
Pool B - England 10-17 Japan
Challenge semi-final - England v Papua New Guinea