England Women picked up valuable qualification points towards Rio 2016 after defeating Fiji in the Plate final of the opening World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series leg in Dubai.
The top four sides after the series finale next May secure a place at the 2016 Olympic Games, with England Women leading the bid for the home nations this season.
But after getting off to a perfect start on day one with a 100 per cent record in Pool C, they suffered an early setback on Friday, losing out to France 7-5 in the Cup quarter-finals.
All was not completely lost however and dropping down into the Plate competition, they narrowly beat Russia 21-19 to move into the final where they would play Fiji, the same opponents they defeated 26-0 in Thursday’s pool stages.
Natasha Hunt was the star of the show with two tries, her second coming in extra time to secure a much closer 19-12 victory.
The result leaves them fifth in the overall standings heading into the next leg in Brazil in February with Cup winners New Zealand leading the way.
Friday also saw the start of the Dubai leg of the men’s competition with England – also chosen as the home nation’s representatives in the Rio 2016 qualification process – looking to build on their third-place finish on the Gold Coast in Dubai.
They got off to a strong start with wins over the USA and Kenya, before losing out to Australia 12-5 in the final pool game – Dan Norton with England’s only try.
It leaves England to face New Zealand in the Cup quarter-finals on Saturday while Australia take on Scotland and Wales face reigning champions Fiji.
© Sportsbeat 2014