England women crowned USA Sevens champions

England Women were crowned champions of the San Diego Sevens on Saturday after a thrilling final, which saw England battle their way to a 17-12 victory in sudden death at Petco Park.


England and the US, playing in front of a packed arena, were drawn 12-12 at full-time, but Wasps’ Heather Fisher provided the magic for England straight after the restart with a sensational charge down the right wing to score the crucial try.


England now head to Dubai next month for the inaugural IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup with victories in the London, Amsterdam, Dubai, European, San Diego Sevens and the Home Nations Cup under their belts.


England Head Coach Simon Amor said: “This was a really tough tournament. We’ve played some very competitive pool games, and then the USA again in the final today, and it has challenged us. Saying that it’s been perfect preparations for the World Cup and we are delighted to have had this opportunity.


“The squad have achieved a lot in the last 12 months, and winning in the final minute of this game is nothing new to us. It’s happened three times now, so we have shown we know what we have to do to win games.”


England are tagged as one of the favourites for next month’s World Cup, but Amor is putting thoughts of a gold medal to the back of his mind.


He added: “I’ve been part of sevens rugby for a long time and I know the favourite tag doesn’t mean much. What’s important is to keep making strides forward and if we do that I know we’ll be in a good position next month.”


England went behind in the first minute of the game when the US responded to the phenomenal home reception at Petco Park with a converted try by Amy Daniels in the first minute.


The tourists replied to the USA’s early pressure with Worcester’s Katherine Merchant making a great break. With Rachael Burford in support she executed an excellent off-load to Danielle Waterman, who touched down with ease.


On form Merchant then claimed her seventh try of the tournament within six minutes with another great break, this time down the right wing, thanks to some good work by Burford and Waterman. With Burford adding the conversion England went into the break leading 12-7.


The USA came back after the restart firing on all cylinders and with four minutes gone England were penalised close to their line for holding on. The home side took a quick penalty and Chrisy Ringgenberg crossed for the US.


America couldn’t convert though and that left the score at 12-12 at full-time, until Fisher, who also competes in bobsleigh for Great Britain, took her chance in sudden death. With just 20 seconds of extra time played, she powered down the right wing straight after the restart to score the winning try.


England USA


San Diego 7s Squad:


Katherine Merchant Worcester
Heather Fisher Wasps
Michaela Staniford Wasps
Jo Yapp Worcester
Rachael Burford Saracens
Charlotte Barras Saracens
Claire Allan Saracens
Sarah Beale Lichfield
Emma Layland Richmond
Danielle Waterman Blaydon Team Northumbria
Maggie Alphonsi Saracens
Sue Day Wasps C


San Diego Sevens results:


Final


England 17 USA 12


Tries: Waterman, Merchant, Fisher
Conversions: Burford
Squad: Day (C), Fisher, Barras, Yapp, Burford, Waterman, Merchant
Substitutions: Staniford for Merchant, Layland for Day (both HT), Beale for Burford (14).


England 29 Canada 0 (semi-final)


Tries: Merchant (41secs & 2mins), Fisher (4), Staniford (12), Yapp (14).
Conversions: Burford (2)
Squad: Day, Fisher, Barras, Yapp, Burford, Allan, Merchant.
Substitutions: Staniford for Merchant (HT), Beale for Barras (HT), Layland for Fisher (8).



Pool stages (Friday):


England 36 Japan 0


Tries: Day (36 secs), Staniford (4mins), Waterman (

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