England crash out of South Africa 7s
December 8, 2012
England's Dan Norton was amongst the tries in Port Elizabeth but it was not enough to propel his side into the Cup quarter-finals © IRB
England suffered yet another blow to their HSBC Sevens World Series title hopes on the first day of the latest event at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in South Africa.
Ben Ryan's side failed to qualify for the Cup quarter-finals for the third time this season with defeats to Fiji (29-19) and then New Zealand (24-7) setting the tone for another disappointing showing. They were handed a lifeline by Pool B rivals Scotland who upset Fiji (21-19) with England's subsequent win against the Scots (33-12), a match which saw Dan Norton notch up his 100th career try, raising hopes that they would still progress. But Fiji's victory over New Zealand (24-12) in the final and pivotal pool clash ensured they joined the Kiwis in the last eight of the main competition.
Tournament hosts South Africa powered into the quarter-finals with three victories taking them to the top of Pool A. The home side beat the Dubai title winners Samoa (29-7), thanks largely to a hat-trick from Chris Dry, before edging out France (12-7) and then Australia (17-7). Samoa rallied in the final game of the day to beat France (12-7) but it was the French who progressed on points difference.
Wales and Argentina progressed from Pool C having both notched two victories on the opening day of action. Wales accounted for Spain (12-5) in their first clash but were downed by Argentina (12-7) in their next outing. However, a big win over Kenya (33-14) in their final game ensured the Welsh topped the pool. Argentina bounced back from an opening defeat to Kenya (21-17) to see off Wales and then wrapped up their pool campaign with victory over Spain (21-14).
In Pool D, Portugal entered the Cup stage for a second successive tournament with victories over the USA (26-12), Zimbabwe (17-12) and Canada (28-7). They will be joined in the last eight by the United States who booked their passage with wins against Canada (26-12) and Zimbabwe (21-17).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games