Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

England restore pride with wins

England reeled off three impressive victories to ease some of their pain on the final day of the Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

They overpowered France 42-7 and South Africa 26-14 - fifth and second in the Sevens World Series respectively - and then cruised past hosts Hong Kong 42-7 to win the Bowl competition. The performances were completely at odds with the pool stage defeats against Samoa and Scotland which forced them out of the Cup quarter-final places.

"We weren't particularly bothered who we played today," said head coach Ben Ryan. "It was all about us and about putting in a performance and setting the bar to the right standard."

He added: "I want the standard to be higher and I'm hoping there's permanent change now because our first two games weren't good enough.

"The one thing we demand is consistency of performance and I'm hoping now that we have the potential to do that and finish the season on a high."

England blew France away in their opening day three game, eventually running in six tries after swamping Les Bleus in the first half.

There were two apiece for Dan Norton and John Brake with Marcus Watson and substitute Mike Ellery also touching down. Christian Lewis-Pratt stroked over all six conversions.

England had to dig deeper against South Africa - the champions in Las Vegas last month - after trailing 14-0 to tries from Justin Geduld and Branco du Preez.Watson's outstanding solo score hauled them back to 14-7 down at half time before England's substitutes all made an impact off the bench.

Ellery was involved in the build-up of a great passage of play before going over for England's second try, skipper Rob Vickerman pounced on an error from the kick-off that followed for the third and Watson struck again after South Africa's scrum crumbled late on.

The 40,000 capacity crowd roaring on the home side were quickly silenced when Brake's quick thinking earned him two early tries with Vickerman also ploughing over and Norton streaking the length of the field in pursuit of Lewis-Pratt's kick out of defence to strike. Ellery completed his impressive first tournament outing with the fifth and Sam Edgerley added a sixth after Rowan Varty had touched down for the hosts.

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