England Men Sevens finish fifth in Vancouver
England Men Sevens finished fifth at the HSBC Canada Sevens after beating USA in their final match in Vancouver.
After finishing second in Pool A on day one, England faced Australia in the cup quarter-final and were behind within 30 seconds as Lachie Anderson crossed off a switch and added his second shortly after.
Ben Harris got England's first score as he beat a defender on the outside and sprinted away from inside his own half but Lewis Holland's dummy allowed him to score Australia's third.
Just before the break England responded when Harris gathered from Charlton Kerr's offload as it sat 12-17 to the Aussies at half-time.
Australia's Maurice Longbottom and Josh Turner scored two more tries as they progressed to the semi-final with a 31-12 win and England moved into the fifth place semi-final to face Spain.
It was England who took the lead through Will Edwards, who ran through the Spain defensive line and from the resultant restart, Phil Burgess read the tap down and dummied the last defender to cross.
Tom Mitchell's superb no-look offload sent Tom Bowen away sprinting down the right wing for England's third, and Iñaki Mateu's grub kick ahead and gather got Spain on the board.
The first try of the second half went Spain's way through Pol Pla and Pla was then provider as he set up Pablo Flores but Mike Ellery went over after Burgess' long pass as England reached the fifth place play-off final with a 26-17 win.
In the decider to who finished fifth, the USA took the lead in England's third game of day two as Carlin Isles went over but Bowen was able to latch onto an offload from Alex Davis to go over.
From the restart of that try, Burgess grabbed the spilled ball and held off one defender to give England the lead which was extended when Harris was the finisher after a break from deep.
USA wing Perri Baker finished out wide on the right to reduce the deficit but two superb side steps from Tom Emery saw him stroll in under the posts.
Baker grabbed two more tries to reach his hat-trick for USA as there were just two points between the sides with 45 seconds remaining but England held on for the 26-24 win to finish in fifth place.
Acting head coach James Rodwell said: “I am generally pretty pleased with the performances here in Vancouver.
“We had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted to improve on from last weekend and I felt the team took a definite step forward in those areas.
“Overall, it was an up and down weekend in terms of results.
“After losing out in the quarter-final to Australia, which we did a few things wrong in, we are really pleased to finish with two wins and to bounce back against Spain and the USA.
“There were some really good performances over the weekend from a number of players. As I said before the tournament, the boys love playing here in Vancouver. The crowd is amazing, the tournament is fantastic and it was nice to see some of the boys get lots of game time.
“A big congratulations to Noah Sixton for earning his first cap on the World Sevens Series, it’s always a special moment to wear the England shirt and I am proud of his efforts over the weekend.
“I’d also like to thank Will Glover for flying out late and adding valuable contributions.
“We are also really pleased with the senior players who played a lot of minutes and put in some great performances over the weekend.
“It was nice to see them back on the pitch before we have a long break ahead of the London Sevens.
“For me personally, it’s been amazing to lead the team over the last four tournaments.
“With Simon Amor coming back in, I’m looking forward to learning a lot more from him as we build towards Tokyo.”
Will Glover [Newcastle University]
Tom Mitchell (C)
Noah Sixton [Unattached]
Pool A: England 31-0 Argentina
Tries: Edwards '3, '7, Bowen '9, Burgess '11, Emery '12
Pool A: England 29-0 Japan
Tries: Davis '1,'5, Bowen '3, Emery '8, Kerr '10
Pool A: South Africa 38-0 England
Cup quarter-final - Australia 31-12 England
Tries: Harris '5, '10
Fifth place semi-final: England 26-17 Spain
Tries: Edwards '1, Burgess '2, Bowen '6, Ellery '14
Fifth place play-off: USA 24-26 England
Tries: Bowen' 5. Burgess '6, Harris '8, Emery '11