In the first time that women’s rugby has been included at the Commonwealth Games, England beat Fiji 17-5 in their opening pool match on the Gold Coast but lost 12-29 to hosts Australia at the Robina Stadium.
England scored in the first minute against Fiji as they won the ball back from their own kick-off and worked it across the pitch a couple of times for Deborah Fleming to smartly finish. However the Fijians scored one for themselves and they went in at half time with the scores level at 5-5.
A superb break from behind England’s try line by Meg Jones saw her offload to Emily Scarratt who ran 80 metres to dot down under the posts.
England wrapped up the opening pool game when Lydia Thompson came on and took a ball back on an inside line from captain Abbie Brown for their third score.
England faced the hosts Australia in their second game and found themselves down early before some neat handling saw Abbie Brown sprint in from distance to level the game.
Fleming’s second try in two games gave England the advantage before Ellia Green’s try made it 12-12 at the break with the game finely poised.
Despite the introduction of some of the replacements, England could not find a score after half-time and three Australian tries saw it finish 12-29 to them.
“It was frustrating, we rattled Australia definitely at the start but we just couldn’t quite hold onto it, but this is sevens,” said Amy Wilson Hardy.
“They played smart and we couldn’t hold onto the ball in crucial moments as they put a lot of pressure on our try line. They had some great finishes and they’re a good team.”
Abbie Brown added: “I’m massively proud to have led this group of girls out here – especially to the massive crowds here today.
“Hopefully we’re inspiring other people to play rugby because that’s what it’s all about.”
James Bailey’s side next face Wales in their final pool game at 09:59 BST on Saturday 14 April in a game which will be available on the BBC.
Team England Women Sevens team for Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games:
Abbie Brown ©
Amy Wilson Hardy
Travelling reserve: Vicky Fleetwood
Team England Women Sevens Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games schedule:
Pool B: England 17-5 Fiji
Pool B: England 12-29 Australia
Pool B: England v Wales – Saturday 14 April, 09:59 BST