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Countdown to Rio: Summer sports week in review

March 24, 2014 07:00 am

England took the scalp of world champions New Zealand to claim third in the IRB Rugby Sevens World Series in Japan.

Simon Amor's side beat Canada in the quarter-finals but were then undone by South Africa, who lost in the final to Fiji.

But a 21-12 victory over New Zealand means they stay fourth in the overall series standings ahead of the next event in Hong Kong.

“I’m positive about the overall outcome. To bring four new guys to a tournament who have never played in an England Sevens shirt before, alongside a number of others who have only featured a few times, and come away in third shows good progress," said Amor. 

"We have made decent steps forward this weekend and the squad will be stronger for the experience.”

Elsewhere, Wales edged past Scotland 28-21 to win the bowl, after they'd beaten Japan and France respectively in the semi-finals.

“It is a step forward," said Welsh coach Gareth Williams. "We were disappointed in the group stages and that draw with Canada cost us a quarter final place. We had some tough games, a lot of it our own fault but the boys dug in well and that final was an example of that to be fair to them."

Meanwhile, Amor is looking ahead to next week's fabled Hong Kong Sevens, where England have been drawn with Argentina, Canada and Portugal.

“It is a tough group," he added.

"Argentina are a very good abrasive team at the breakdown, as are Portugal, and we only just snuck past Canada in the quarter-finals so we will need to be really focused for every single game. If, however, we perform as well as we did against New Zealand then we put ourselves in a position to have another good tournament.”

Jodie Stimpson opened her season with a podium finish at the triathlon World Cup in New Zealand while former world champion Helen Jenkins, in her first race since the London Olympics, came home fourth - a better result than she had expected.

American Katie Hursey claimed gold while New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt outsprinted Stimpson for the silver. 

James Davis, Richard Kruse, Marcus Mepstead and Alex Tofalides claimed the prize of world number two Russia to win team foil bronze at the fencing World Cup in Bonn. They lost narrowly 45-44 to China in the semi-final but dominated the Ukraine in the battle for third, claiming their podium place with a 45-36 win.

Two-time Olympian Ben Swift finished third in Sunday's gruelling Milan-San Remo, the first Spring Classic of the cycling season.

Swift was edged out in a sprint finish by Norway's Alexander Kristoff and Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara while former winner Mark Cavendish finished fifth.

"It's the race that I've looked at in the past and dreamed about over the years," Swift told 

"It's the one big race where I could see myself getting a result because normally that sort of terrain is where I'd have pretty good legs."

Teenagers Matty Lee and Daniel Goodfellow won their second bronze medal in quick succession at the FINA Diving World Series in Dubai. 

Lee, 16, and Goodfellow, 17, followed up their bronze in Beijing with another third place in Dubai in the 10 metres synchro. 

Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley finished in fourth place in the men’s 10m Platform while a new-look British synchronised swimming team finished in eighth place in the French Open, their first international competition together.

Great Britain were pushed aside by a powerful Russian team in their women's water polo World League match in in Chelyabinsk.

The hosts - and last season's runners-up - started strongly and never looked back.

Britain's Chloe Wilcox top scored with five goals while Ciara Gibson-Byrne and Fran Clayton netted hat-tricks but Russia triumphed 20-13.

Great Britain will take on Spain in their final World League qualifying match in Manchester on April 22.

© Sportsbeat 2014