England flounder in Port Elizabeth
December 7, 2013
Scotland were put to the sword by France in Port Elizabeth © Getty Images
England will have to settle for a place in the Bowl after falling to a narrow 21-19 defeat to Argentina in their final pool game in the South Africa leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
After a 24-14 defeat to Samoa and a 35-7 win over Zimbabwe earlier in the day, and with Argentina winning their opening two fixtures, it was all on the line for England and they raced into an early lead through Mat Turner - though Jeronimo de la Fuente hit back for the Pumas to level the scores at 7-7 before half-time. The second period was a thrilling, breathtaking affair, with Lucas Alacer's try quickly cancelled out by Dan Bibby.
Captain Tom Powell then came off the bench to give England the lead and it looked like it would be enough but Agustin Cortes popped up at the death to snatch the win at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
The death of Mandela on Thursday evening has given the event a sad backdrop but the tributes have been fitting and the rugby on display as good as ever, with the result of the day undoubtedly going to the Portuguese after they stunned Wales 28-17 to book a place in the Cup quarter-finals. Wales will join England in the Bowl, but they had started positively with a 26-10 victory over a USA side containing the lightning fast Carlin Isles.
But their defeat to Portugal was a massive blow to their ambitions and as expected they were comprehensively rolled over by defending champions New Zealand 48-7 in their final pool game. Scotland fared even worse than the other British sides, registering just two bonus points as they lost 33-21 to France, 31-19 to Australia and 29-12 to Fiji to leave them with a clash against England in the Bowl quarter-finals.
Australia again failed to make the quarterfinals from Pool A, beating Scotland but losing to Fiji 26-5 and France 19-12
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