England win Dubai sevens

2010-12-04 20:29

Dubai - England produced two late tries to trump Samoa 29-21 and win the Dubai sevens on Saturday, the first tournament of the eight-leg IRB Sevens World Series.

The English team's performance in the final mirrored a day of action in which they had twice come up with last-gasp scores to defeat New Zealand and Australia in thrilling style, in the semi and quarter-finals respectively.

"It's been the story of the weekend," England captain Ben Gollings said of his team's rearguard action.

"We bounced back well and I couldn't be more proud of the boys."

With just 90 seconds of the final gone, England showed patience in their build-up, Oliver Lindsay-Hague sprinting unhindered into the corner after slipping a tackle following good work from Gollings.

Gollings missed the conversion and Samoa hit back immediately, James Rodwell doing well to bat down a pass from Afa Aiono to Samoan playmaker Mikaele Pesamino with the line beckoning.

Samoa opened their account in front of the packed 40,000-capacity "Sevens" stadium through Simaika Mikaele after Ofisa Treviranus drew two defenders and produced a smart two-handed offload.

When Alafoti Fa'osiliva fended off a lame tackle and came up with a try-making pass to Treviranus under the posts, English hopes looked dashed with Samoa very much in the ascendancy.

But Lindsay-Hague got his second just before half-time, skipping through a flat-footed Samoan defence.

Fa'osiliva opened the second period with a try despite the best efforts of England's Fiji-born Isoa Damu.

But then the English fightback started, replacement Simon Hunt showing immense power to hold off Pesamino and get over the line following a break by the ever-impressive Dan Norton.

Norton rounded off a great personal tournament by scoring a majestic solo try, handing off Samoan playmaker Pesamino and side-stepping the sweeper to take England out to 24-21.

Mat Turner rubbed Samoan noses in it with a try as time ran out.

Samoa had set up the final against England after seeing off Fiji (24-21) in the semi-finals and the United States (38-5) in the quarter-finals.

In the tournament's lower-level play-offs, South Africa beat Australia 19-12 in the plate final, Argentina blanked Zimbabwe 21-0 in the bowl, and Kenya also whitewashed France, 26-0, in the shield.

Results on the second day of the Dubai Sevens:

Cup final
Samoa 21-29 England

Plate final
South Africa 19-12 Australia

Bowl final
Argentina 21-0 Zimbabwe

Shield final
Kenya 26-0 France

Plate semi-final
USA 10 South Africa 24
Australia 26 Wales 12

Bowl semi-final
Argentina 31 Russia 7
Scotland 17 Zimbabwe 28

Shield semi-final
Kenya 19 Portugal 12
France 26 Arabian Gulf 19

Cup semi-finals
Samoa 24 Fiji 21
England 19 New Zealand 14

Cup quarter-finals
Samoa 38 USA 5
Fiji 21 South Africa 24
Australia 19 England 21
New Zealand 35 Wales 7

Bowl quarter-finals
Kenya 0 Argentina 43
Portugal 7 Russia 10
Scotland 28 France 22
Zimbabwe 24 Arabian Gulf 14