- England came back from 19-0 down to beat New Zealand
- Read Rob Vickerman's preview of London Sevens here
- Buy tickets for HSBC London Sevens here
With a day left until the London leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at Twickenham, we take a look back on the last time England reigned supreme - 10 years ago...
On this day in 2009 England Sevens came back from a 19 point half time deficit to beat New Zealand 31-26 in extra time at Twickenham Stadium to win the London Sevens for a third time.
England finished day one top of their pool thanks to victories over France, Samoa and Georgia – scoring 112 points and conceding 28 along the way. Those performances set Ben Ryan’s men up for a quarter-final meet with Australia, which they won 26-12, followed by Scotland in the semis – where the exact same score line was registered.
Having scored 164 points en route to the final, New Zealand were a side high on confidence, fuelled by some of the sport’s most exciting players in Tomasi Cama, Kurt Baker and a young Julian Savea.
And it was the giant wing Savea who struck twice for the All Blacks in the opening seven minutes, alongside a try from Baker, giving them a 19-0 lead and one hand on the title.
#England7s captain for the weekend on his 50th @WorldRugby7s appearance— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) May 23, 2019
It's going to be a weekend to remember for @Philip__Burgess.
This is his story: https://t.co/f4tX4c4xdG pic.twitter.com/4QALlzq83U
But a fine solo score from Uche Oduoza at the beginning of the second half sparked England into life, and moments later they had another courtesy of scrum half Micky Young, who got on the end of a thread of offloads to dot down in the corner.
With the gap cut to just seven points, England needed a converted try to level the match, and they found it in the shape of James Rodwell – who scythed through the Kiwi defence from 10 metres out to give Ben Gollings the easiest of conversions.
Did you know? England won the London Sevens in 2003 & 2004, beating Fiji & New Zealand respectively. They are one of three teams to win the title back-to-back, alongside Scotland and New Zealand.
Zar Lawrence struck late to put New Zealand back in the ascendancy, and with the game seemingly lost an inexperienced Dan Norton came onto the pitch with just minutes remaining.
What happened next remains a personal highlight for World Rugby’s most decorated try-scorer, as Norton received the ball 60 metres out and opted to back his pace on an outside arc, leaving the covering Kiwi defence in his shadow as England levelled for the second time in the match and took the game into extra time.
“I didn’t play much of the tournament at all but I came on in the final against New Zealand,” recalls Norton. "I got told I was going on with two minutes to go and thankfully I was able to get a try in the corner to take us to extra time.
“We were able to scrap and fight after coming from behind and we got the win in the corner so that was an amazing feeling to be part of. Having my dad there watching and my uncles watching at home was incredible."
In a tense three minutes of extra-time, dominated by physical displays of defence, it was England who made the crucial breakthrough. New Zealand’s five metre defending scrum was turned over, and Young was quickest to react to the ball spilling from its base. The Newcastle Falcon gladly swiped it up and scuttled into the corner, confirming a historical win and remarkable comeback.
Did you know? Gollings' three conversions in the final took him to 2000 career points – he retired on 2652 – a total that remains the all-time record.
Get your tickets for the HSBC London Sevens on 25-26 May which will bring all that London has to offer under one roof at Twickenham Stadium. Go to eticketing.co.uk/rfu to get yours.