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England miss out on London Sevens Qtr finals


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Article Published: Sunday 22 May 2011


England 's bid for the London Sevens title is over after they were denied a quarter final place by being held to a 12-12 draw by Argentina at the end of the tournament 's record-breaking opening day.

A win would have taken England to the last eight - to face either New Zealand or Wales - but Argentina 's superior points difference ushered them into the next stage on a day when a world record sevens crowd of 54,357 flocked to Twickenham.

Instead, England - beaten by France and winners over the USA in their other two pool games - now face Kenya in the Bowl quarter finals looking to pick up the points on offer to defend their second place in the Sevens World Series. Leaders New Zealand, 13 points clear going into London, are now all but uncatchable.

England have been semi-finalists or better in all six previous tournaments this season and head coach Ben Ryan admitted they were "listless" on day one. They need to bounce back straight away with an improved showing in the Bowl and at the Edinburgh Sevens next weekend.

"We were tremendously looking forward to playing at home in front of a really big crowd with a side that 's trying to win a world title but all that 's up in a puff of smoke in three pretty average performances," said Ryan.

"Today we weren 't good enough. We played flat rugby for three games. Now we 've got to be professional, get a job done tomorrow and have three good performances.

"We were 21 points ahead of our third place [ Sevens World Series] rivals and that 's going to get eaten up very quickly if we 're not careful.

"The last thing we want to do having relinquished any chance of winning the world series is to relinquish second place. I still think we 've had an overperforming season in the context of the seven events so far but that 's only going to be the case if we nail down second place."

England opened their Pool B programme with a win 31-21 win over the USA courtesy of Bristol Rugby wing Dan Norton 's hat-trick, all touched down wide on the left, with captain Ben Gollings and forward Tom Powell also scoring.

They slipped up first in a game they should have won against France. Gollings scored and converted twice to tie the game up at 14-14 and England were hammering towards the line only for France to break out and go the length of the field for Mathieu Acebes to snatch a 21-14 win.

England started slowly against Argentina and had a near miss when James Rodwell couldn 't get the ball down after a sweeping attack involving Toulon-bound London Irish flanker Steffon Armitage, who was making his international sevens debut.

Norton grabbed his fourth try of the day to put them in front, Hernan Olivari replied, then Chris Cracknell smashed his way over with Gollings converting for a 12-7 lead.

But they couldn 't get a grip of the game in the second half, Tio Merello 's try in the left hand corner levelled the scores late on and Armitage was bundled into touch to end the final play and England 's title chase.

The result puts Argentina into a quarter final against New Zealand, surprise Pool B winners France take on Wales, Samoa face Fiji and defending London Sevens champions Australia tackle South Africa.

A Bowl quarter final win for England would earn them a date with Canada or Russia as they attempt to collect the four series points available to the eventual Bowl winners.

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