Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

England edged out by New Zealand

England followed up their triumph in Dubai with another impressive display as they finished runners-up to New Zealand in the Emirates Airlines South Africa Sevens.

Ben Ryan's team beat reigning world series champions Samoa to win the Dubai event last weekend and almost matched the feat on Saturday but fell short against the Kiwis, losing 22-19 in the final.

Tomasi Cama kicked a late penalty after England had fought back to 19-19 with a try from Mathew Turner. New Zealand were even down to six men when they were awarded the penalty. England captain Ben Gollings and James Rodwell also scored tries in the close-fought tussle, with Gollings adding two conversions.

Head coach Ryan said: "It was really tight. We could have kicked the ball out but decided to play and unfortunately they came back and slotted a penalty to win the game.

"But overall it's as good a start as England have had in 11 years. We set out to win back-to-back tournaments and we've had a great two weeks and the results make us number one seeds going into the next two tournaments.

"Today we played really well and came within a whisker of doubling up. We've knocked over all last year's top six sides in the last two weekends and we got up and running straight away after Dubai to back up what we'd done there.

"We'll have two weeks off now and then we'll work them pretty hard and come back in better shape to go to Wellington as number one seeds and looking forward to taking on New Zealand again."

England had lost to New Zealand in their pool but wins over Kenya and Russia carried them through on Friday, and on Saturday Ryan's troops defeated the South African hosts 19-10 and Samoa 22-12.

While England fell short in the elite Cup competition, Scotland won the Bowl final, beating Russia 26-0 with tries from Andrew Skeen, Dougie Fife, Scott Riddell and Graham Fisken.

Wales lost 22-21 to South Africa in the Plate semi-finals. Cecil Afrika scored a hat-trick of tries, with his third arriving in the last minute to allow South Africa to reach the Plate final, where they beat Argentina 10-5.


From Belfast Telegraph