England defeated Australia 15-14 to claim bronze at the opening leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai.
It was Australia who opened the scoring through a converted John Porch try but England responded with a score courtesy of Will Muir on his World Series debut for 7-5.
A chip from Longbottom beat England’s defensive line and set up Lachie Anderson who crossed and increased the lead to 14-5 at the break.
England sprung back into action after half time and it was Mike Ellery who put the side back on the scoreboard surging down the right wing to touch down. A second missed conversion left England trailing by four points.
With 20 seconds left on the clock England snatched victory as Tom Mitchell set up Harry Glover who dotted down and secured the bronze medal for Simon Amor’s men.
The day started with a clinical performance in the Cup quarter-final against South Africa securing a 22-5 win and a place in the semi-final.
Mitchell opened the scoring after a knock on at the lineout from Siviwe Soyizwapi allowed him to strike.
Captain Mitchell went over again thanks to some excellent defensive work from Ellery and Ethan Waddleton before Tom Bowen added a third before the break.
With two minutes left to play in the second half South Africa responded through Selvyn Davids but England went over once more as Phil Burgess intercepted an offload and strode across the line to seal victory.
In what was a repeat of the Rugby World Cup Sevens final earlier this year England took on New Zealand for a semi-final spot but were defeated 5-7.
England applied pressure early on with what Mitchell thought was a try but it was disallowed due to a knock on in the build-up. Another English knock on awarded New Zealand a scrum and the opportunity to strike as Tone Ng Shiu crossed for the All Blacks Sevens. A successful conversion left England trailing 0-7 at the break.
Moments into the second half Bowen found space on the right and seared away to touch down but Mitchell was unable to convert.
New Zealand barely left their own half after the break with England in prime attacking position. Glover broke through and crossed the whitewash but his boot clipped the side line and the try was not given.
Retaining possession England fought hard to break down the defence as the game rolled into extra time but a penalty conceded at the breakdown ended their hopes of a place in the final, setting up the bronze medal clash with Australia.
“It’s a great way to start the series,” said Mitchell.
“It was an amazing effort from the boys, especially in the last match with the last play and we managed to pull through to beat the Aussies.”
Bronze medal match: England 15-14 Australia
Tries: Will Muir, Mike Ellery, Harry Glover
Cup semi-final: England 5-7 New Zealand
Tries: Tom Bowen
Cup quarter-final: England 22-5 South Africa
Tries: Tom Mitchell (2), Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess
England’s Pool D results
England 19-22 Australia
Tries: Tom Mitchell, Charlton Kerr, Ethan Waddleton
England 31-7 Japan
Tries: Dan Norton (2), Tom Mitchell, Mike Ellery, Ethan Waddleton
England 26-16 Canada
Tries: Dan Norton, Mike Ellery, Tom Mitchell, Tom Bowen
England Men Sevens squad for Dubai:
Tom B owen
Tom Mitchell ©
13th man: Richard de Carpentier