Dan Norton became the all-time leading try-scorer on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as England defeated South Korea 52-0 in their opening match in Hong Kong.
Simon Amor’s side led 24-0 at the break after a clinical opening half before adding further gloss to the performance with Norton and Tom Mitchell reaching significant try-scoring landmarks.
In addition England Sevens Academy teenager Charlton Kerr made his first senior start and it was the 19-year-old’s offload in contact that allowed Ollie Lindsay-Hague to weave his way through for the opening try which Dan Bibby converted.
Bibby then put pressure on South Korea’s defence allowing James Rodwell to turn the ball over and Lindsay-Hague finished off Ruaridh McConnochie’s floated pass for 12-0.
Tom Bowen then showed blistering speed on the right wing to sear over for try number three with Bibby’s conversion taking the score to 19-0.
Kerr spotted a gap in the South Korea defence to dart through and dot down under the post for his second try on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for a 24-0 lead at the break.
The youngster then followed that score up with another shortly after the break as Norton was introduced into the game.
And he needed no time to score, chipping over the South Korea defence in trademark style, before collecting his own kick to touch down for his 245th World Series try, surpassing Kenya’s Collins Injera.
Charlie Hayter sniped through the opposition for his 25th try on the circuit and England’s seventh try of the match.
Replacement Mitchell then scored a length of the field try for his 100th try in a game of player landmarks as the game ended 52-0.
Norton said: “It’s an amazing feeling! Heading into today it was important I just focused on my processes. There was a lot of talk about this milestone so it’s nice to achieve it with one of my first touches and now it’s onwards into the rest of the tournament as we work to play our best for our country.
“It’s special for it to happen in Hong Kong. I’ve obviously got some fond memories here. It is a great stadium with an amazing atmosphere – it is the iconic sevens tournament.
“I’m lucky over my career to have stayed injury free – we have amazing support staff who have enabled that. Over the years I’ve played alongside very gifted players who have pushed me and also done the work to put me in the right position to get on the end for tries! I’m also fortunate to have had great coaches in Simon Amor and Ben Ryan who brought me into the set up.”
England Sevens Squad for Hong Kong: Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Richard de Carpentier, Charlie Hayter, Charlton Kerr, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Ruaridh McConnochie, Tom Mitchell ©, Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Ethan Waddleton. 13th man: Callum Sirker.
England’s Pool A fixtures (in GMT and live on Sky Sports):
v South Korea 52-0 England
Tries: Lindsay-Hague (2), Bowen, Kerr (2), Norton, Hayter, Mitchell
Conversions: Bibby (4), Mitchell (2)
v Samoa (Saturday 8 April, 4.40am)
v Australia (Saturday 8 April, 8.40am)