England lift plate as New Zealand near title

ENGLAND coach Simon Amor hailed another encouraging display after his team warmed up for this week’s climax in London by winning the plate at the Glasgow Sevens on Sunday.

A narrow defeat to Fiji in the quarter-final of the cup sent England into the plate competition, but they made amends with resounding victories over Australia and then Kenya.

The fifth consecutive top-five finish means England remain fifth in the HSBC Sevens World Series heading into the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham, which starts on Saturday.

“Apart from the first two or three minutes of the Fiji game, we played well,” Amor said. “I’ve been encouraged by some of the young guys, they’ve had more game time and we’ve seen them step up. Our execution and the technical accuracy of our tackling and passing has been much better. I’m really pleased with how the team responded [to Saturday].”

New Zealand closed in on a 12th World Series title by lifting the cup in Glasgow, their fourth event triumph of the season and a second in succession following glory in Hong Kong.

They thrashed Canada 54-7 in the final to move 19 points clear of South Africa at the top of the standings with just one event remaining.

England’s 7-7 draw with Canada in Saturday’s pool stage cost them a more favourable cup quarter-final draw, pitting them against Fiji.

After conceding two early tries, second-half scores from Tom Mitchell and Phil Burgess hauled England back into the contest, only for a missed conversion to force them to drop into the plate. Alex Gray, Dan Norton and Mitchell, the leading points scorer in the series, earned a 21-7 win over Australia, before Norton’s brace, allied to further tries from James Rodwell and Marcus Watson, set up a 26-5 defeat of Kenya.