Portugal end England's Dubai dream
November 30, 2012
England's Marcus Watson tries to evade the Portugal defender © Getty Images
A late penalty from Portugal knocked England out of the reckoning for a place in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Sevens and condemned Ben Ryan's men to their second loss on day one of the second leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
England were trailing 22-21 in injury time against Portugal and Dan Bibby turned down a kick at the posts in favour of running the penalty. England failed to capitalise on the field position and eventually knocked the ball into touch. England were down to six men at the time following Dan Norton's sin-binning, with the penalty resulting from that infringement proving to be the winning score for Portugal.
The defeat means England will now play in either the Bowl or the Plate on the second day of the Dubai Sevens and it will be a poor return for Ryan's side who took the tournament last season. They fell to South Africa in their first match of the day with England suffering two sin-binnings with Marcus Watson and Rob Vickerman both seeing yellow. They eventually lost 19-12 to the South Africans and faced Samoa in their second match of the day.
And they managed to bounce back with Tom Mitchell, Tom Powell and Norton all scoring to give Ryan's men a key 19-17 victory. But the loss to Portugal - who progress to the quarters thanks to their win over England and South Africa - meant that Ryan's side have relinquished their Dubai Sevens crown.
Portugal will be joined in the quarter-finals by Kenya, Fiji, Canada, France, New Zealand and Wales. Wales qualified thanks to a commanding 22-5 win over Russia in their final match with captain Rhys Shellard crossing for a hat trick. This followed their hard fought 14-7 defeat over Argentina earlier in the day. Earlier on in dreadful conditions, with the rain pouring down, New Zealand showed their class to overcome an early Ifan Evans try for Wales to secure a 14-7 victory thanks to second half tries to Tomasi Cama and Kurt Baker.
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