They may have lost out in the Cup final to hosts New Zealand but England Sevens head coach Simon Amor believes his team are heading firmly in the right direction after their best result of this season’s World Series.
England headed to Wellington this weekend lying sixth in the Sevens World Series standings, two places shy of the required top-four spot needed to qualify a home nations spot for Rio 2016.
They had yet to make a Cup final this season but put that stat to bed after beating quarter-finalists Fiji 26-21 in extra-time before denying Scotland the chance of a first Cup final appearance with a 24-19 semi-final win.
It left them squaring up against New Zealand in the final and the hosts shot out of the blocks to take a 10-0 lead in next to no time.
Marcus Watson brought England to within three points but three tries for New Zealand extended their lead to 27-7, enough to see them over the line despite late scores from captain Tom Mitchell and John Brake.
Despite the loss, England move up to fifth in the standings, two points behind Australia in fourth, leaving Amor delighted with his team’s performance.
“I’m incredibly proud of the guys. We showed great spirit to get into the final, our pride and character shone through, and I’m very proud,” he said.
“It’s always nice to be in a cup final – it’s why we play the game, the guys want to be competing at the highest level and winning trophies. We still have a long way to go with the programme, but this is a good step forward.
“We had a few players competing in their first tournament for us and the atmosphere in Wellington was a big factor – that experience will stand them in good stead.
“It’s never ideal to lose players with the experience of Dan Bibby, Dan Norton and Phil Burgess, but it gives opportunities to other players and I’m pleased with how they have stepped up as we head into the Las Vegas leg.”
© Sportsbeat 2015