England stage Great Escape against Fiji
04 December, 2010
|England celebrate victory over Fiji. |
England staged a great escape on day one at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, recovering from a loss against Portugal to beat Digicel Fiji 21-26 and join the top seeds in the Cup quarter finals of the first event in this season's HSBC Sevens World Series.
Fiji still top the pool with the English going through in second place, and the United States booked a first ever place in the Dubai quarter finals.
"The amount of people who found it very good news that England were about to go into the Bowl was a real motivation. So out we come in our bright orange shirts and we proved a point that we weren't dead and buried, and that hopefully this side will prove that there is a bit more to them and we have got more in us," said England coach, Ben Ryan.
Fiji had earlier won their opening two matches of the 2010/11 HSBC Sevens World Series, beating Portugal 31-7 in the opening match of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, and France 35-5. Josefa Bole crossed for the first try of the tournament against Portugal, before Emosi Vucago scored his second of the tournament against France.
New Zealand and Australia were the day's only two unbeaten sides to top their respective pools each blooding six new players.
"I played all the young boys in that game [against Argentina] because we had won our pool and I had to see where they were at. I had to try them out and I think Declan O'Donnell is going pretty well, and Bryce Heen. The big boys out there, they will come good I am pretty sure they will," said New Zealand coach, Gordon Tietjens.
Australia head coach Michael O'Connor added: "He [John Grant] is new on the scene and obviously a big boy, he carries the ball well and he has good wheels. He is still learning the game though and I think he is a really good prospect."
Reigning World Series champions Samoa survived an early scare to come from behind and draw with Wales, and then beat Kenya to proceed to the last eight with the impressive Welsh. Cup quarter finals:
Samoa v USA
Fiji v South Africa
Australia v England
New Zealand v Wales
Earlier the first major upset was caused by Zimbabwe, as they beat core side Argentina 24-14. Portugal then beat England but were cruelly denied a place in the Cup quarter finals when England denied Fiji. Bowl quarter finals:
Kenya v Argentina
Portugal v Russia
Scotland v France
Zimbabwe v Arabian Gulf