England secured a bronze medal at the HSBC Sydney Sevens after defeating Fiji 19-17.
After an emphatic 26-5 victory over South Africa in the Cup quarter-finals England lost 7-14 to USA in the semi-finals.
England finished second in Pool A on day one of the tournament beating Samoa and Japan but losing out to Fiji in the group stage.
In the bronze medal contest England had possession early on and opened up the scoring after a beautiful offload from Harry Glover to Tom Bowen sent him flying down the wing to dot down.
Fiji gained possession briefly but England won it back with Tom Mitchell finding Bowen on the wing again. He slid past Alasio Naduva with ease and touched down behind the posts putting England 12-0 up at the break.
England were first to score in the second half through Will Muir who evaded two Fijian defenders and strode in under the posts but Fiji were quick to respond through Apenisa Cakaubalavu who put the ball down in the corner.
Charlton Kerr was sent to the sin bin for an intentional knock down and Fiji capitalised on the man advantage with Cakaubalavu going over for his second.
England won a penalty inside Fiji’s 22 with 30 seconds left on the clock but Fiji found possession one last time and Cakaubalavu went for his hat-trick but it wasn’t enough and England sealed victory.
In the Cup semi-final Dan Norton picked up a loose pass from Martin Iosefo and walked in England’s first try with Dan Bibby adding the extras.
USA hit back quickly through Steve Tomasin on the inside who brought them level before Ben Pinkleman went over under the posts for USA’s second, putting them 14-7 up at the break.
England were almost back in it through Dan Norton as he found possession and paced down the wing but his left foot landed on the touchline.
USA controlled the clock well in the second half, remaining composed and winning two penalties. At the sound of the hooter USA put the ball out and secured their spot in the Cup final.
Earlier Charlton Kerr had put England ahead against South Africa in the quarters after Richard de Carpentier quickly fed Kerr who was free on the right to dot down.
It was de Carpentier again who set up the second score, this time for skipper Mitchell who glided under the posts. Bibby added the extras extending England’s lead to 14-0 at half-time.
South Africa were first to score after the break with Justin Geduld feeding to Zain Davids on the wing, sending him across the whitewash but they weren’t able to add the extras.
England were dominant in possession after Davids’ score which eventually resulted in another try for the men in white as Phil Burgess found space to get across the line.
Moments later Bowen extended England’s lead even further by weaving through the defence to find the try line. The conversion attempt went wide but it was enough to secure Simon Amor’s men a spot in the semi-final.
England Men Sevens head coach Simon Amor commented: “I’m really pleased with the effort from the boys, not just over the course of the weekend where they really fought hard for each other, but also during the week leading up to Sydney.
“We learned an awful lot as a group from last week in Hamilton – there were some tough lessons there but I’m impressed with how hard everyone has worked off the pitch.
“I thought we played some great rugby this weekend. We didn’t quite get it right on a couple of occasions but we’ve made some great progress and I’m particularly pleased with the younger guys who continue to step up for us. This is so important as we look to press on for the rest of the season.”
England 19-17 Fiji
Tries: Tom Bowen (2), Will Muir
England 7-14 USA
Tries: Dan Norton
England 26-5 South Africa
Tries: Charlton Kerr, Tom Mitchell, Phil Burgess, Tom Bowen
England 24-12 Samoa
Tries: Richard de Carpentier, Will Muir, Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen
England 7-14 Fiji
Tries: Dan Norton
England 36-0 Japan
Tries: Dan Norton (2), Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Ryan Olowofela (2)
England Men Sevens squad for Sydney:
Richard de Carpentier
13th man: James Rodwell