England retain Dubai Sevens crown
Defending champions England retained their Dubai sevens crown after
beating France 29-12 to claim the second leg of the IRB World Sevens
Series here on Saturday. Ben Ryan's side edged New Zealand (10-7) and
Fiji (19-12) in the knock-out phases, and proved too powerful for a
French team that had shocked South Africa in the quarter-final to set up
a first last-four appearance since 2007.
Fiji-born Isoa Damu opened the scoring for England after a poor
tackle by Paul Albaladejo opened up midfield and Dan Norton notched up a
second shortly after, collecting his own chip and chase to go in under
But Renaud Delmas got one back for the French before Mat Turner
scored a brace of five-pointers in quick succession to really put Les
Bleus on the backfoot, facing a 24-7 deficit at half-time.
Delmas claimed his second try early in the second period to make for
a tense finale, but England had the last word with a late Rob Vickerman
try sealing a fourth Dubai title after previous wins in 2010, 2005 and
The weekend, however, was a disastrous one for New Zealand, nine-time
winners of the Series over the last 12 seasons, knocked out in the
quarter-finals by England and suffering three losses in a row for the
first time in their history (against South Africa in pool play on
Friday, England and then Australia in the plate semi-final).
"It's been a disappointing tournament for us," coach Gordon Tietjens
"There's still a lot of self-belief in the team, they'll be hurting,"
the veteran coach said, pinpointing composure, patience and physicality
as three aspects his team will have to improve on in Port Elizabeth next
"But it's still early in the World Series, it's only the second
tournament and we've just got to get back on the horse and give
ourselves a good account of ourselves in South Africa next week.
"Option taking was pretty average at times, on-field decision-making
was terrible, we got punished for that."