Sun, Dec 05, 2010 - Page 20 News List

England sneak into Dubai Sevens quarter-final match

AP, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

England sneaked into the Dubai Sevens quarter-finals when replacement Simon Hunt scored the winning try after the final hooter against Fiji on Friday.

At 21-21, England looked as though it would miss the last eight in Dubai for the first time, but Hunt raced over in the right corner to make it 26-21 and follow Group D winner Fiji into the quarters.

“The amount of people who found it very good news that England were about to go into the bowl was a real motivation,” England coach Ben Ryan said. “So out we come in our bright orange shirts and we proved a point that we weren’t dead and buried.”

Yesterday, England were to face Australia, which along with defending champion New Zealand, were the only teams to sweep their pools.

New Zealand were to meet Wales, Fiji would face South Africa, and Samoa was to play the US in the other quarter-finals.

England’s troubles began in its opening outing, a first-ever 14-12 loss to Portugal, for which Pedro Leal kicked the last-gasp winning conversion of Frederico Oliveira’s second try. Also, England had to come from behind to beat France 24-12.

Meanwhile, Portugal also beat France, but its heavy loss to Fiji cost it in a countback against England.

New Zealand beat the US 31-7, Zimbabwe 59-0 and threw in its new players to edge Argentina 24-19. New Zealand blew a 14-0 lead to trail 19-14 and pulled off the win in the last minute.

Argentina finished without a win, as the US advanced to its first Dubai quarters.

Australia handled Scotland 41-14, Russia 28-19 and South Africa 19-14 with six new players. South Africa advanced, but struggled to put down Russia 19-10 and conceded a 19-all draw with Scotland.

Defending series champ Samoa began with a 21-21 draw with Wales, but then dispatched Arabian Gulf and Kenya to top Pool A. Wales came second thanks to a 17-12 winning tussle with Kenya, in which the lead changed a third and final time on Aaron Shingler’s converted try.

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