Portugal slay Sevens Giants England and S.Africa

England and South Africa were knocked out of the Sevens Cup in Dubai on a day of shocks as Portugal became giant slayers.

England beat Samoa 19-17 but went down 19-12 against South Africa and then succumbed 22-21 to giantkillers Portugal in their final Pool C match at the Dubai Sevens.

Portugal duly topped the group after beating South Africa 12-10 while Wales, Canada and Kenya also reached the last eight.

South Africa lost their inspirational captain Kyle Brown with a broken ankle early on Friday morning and will play Russia on Saturday in the Bowl quarterfinals after finishing third in their pool at the Dubai Sevens.

Brown suffered the injury in the first half of their first Pool C encounter against defending tournament champions, England, and he left the field on a stretcher. He will return to South Africa on Saturday to undergo surgery to repair the damage to his ankle.

Earlier in the week livewire scrumhalf Branco du Preez also returned home because of a pulled hamstring, while former IRB Player of the Year did not travel to Dubai due to a niggling knee injury.

England looked like they’d booked their place in the quarter finals when Dan Norton put them 21-19 up with a minute to go in monsoon conditions, only for Portugal to break out and take the lead with a penalty after Norton was yellow-carded for impeding an opponent. England got the ball back but couldn’t get over the line. Their other tries came from James Rodwell and John Brake.

It completed a tough day for the side after centre Tom Mitchell broke a leg in the Samoa match and captain Rob Vickerman was suspended for three games after being cited for a dangerous tackle against South Africa.

“We can’t blame anyone else,” said Ryan. “It’s a collective 14 minutes and in the first half Portugal got too many points that we gave them and we should have been more clinical in the right places.

“We were in the Bowl in the last tournament, we’re in the Bowl again here; we’ve got our captain on a three-game ban and one of our best players [Tom Mitchell] in hospital with a broken leg also from the second game.

“Now we’ve got to show a bit of resilience and spirit. None of us wants to be in the Bowl. We need to get momentum and show we’ve got a bit of character. It’s about playing well, getting three wins and then packing up, getting on the plane to [leg three in] Port Elizabeth and making sure we improve and learn.”

“Portugal are a pretty decent side. They’ve just knocked over the No.3 and No.4 sides in the world from last year. The best teams still win titles but surprises happen on a daily basis and we’ve just been subject to one of those.”

Earlier, tries from Mitchell, Tom Powell and Norton sealed a 19-17 victory against the Samoans.

England had looked equally confident going forward against South Africa with Powell and Norton scoring well-taken tries, but they lost two players – Marcus Watson and Vickerman – to the sin bin and missed a key chance when trailing 12-10 in the second half.

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