England won the first tournament in the HSBC World Sevens Series in Dubai, coming from behind in the final to beat Samoa 29-21.
Having lost to Portugal in the group stages, they snuck through to the second day with a last-minute try against Fiji. They then beat Australia and New Zealand to reach the final against Samoa, and relied on another late rally to lift the trophy.
England coach Ben Ryan said afterwards, “We dug ourselves out of a great hole against Fiji and we played really well in the last three games. We all sat down last night and said it wasn’t the case of giving ourselves a pat on the back for beating Fiji. It was a reminder that we had to make the most of our chances and learn from what happened which we did. We can fight with the best of them and the boys proved that. We were relaxed and we were ruthless and it’s a good combination and they managed to hang on to that.
“We’ve got to remain pretty humble. We’ve won one tournament at the beginning of the year but everyone will regroup and try and have a crack at us next weekend. The proof will be in how we run out in George next weekend.”
England captain Ben Gollings added, “The boys have been sensational this weekend and you can’t ask for any more from them. It was always going to take one win to help us realise our true potential and hopefully we can really roll on from here.
“I’ve experienced plenty of highs and lows but we really had to look hard at ourselves pretty seriously after the performance against Portugal but at the end of the day the boys did what you have to do in this game and that’s to bounce back positively and make amends.
“We’ve got to stay level headed and we’ve set a platform and set a standard and it’s now not right if we don’t meet that standard. There’s still a lot of work to do but the guys were sensational. The young guys really stepped up: Ollie Lindsay-Hague was brilliant, Dan Caprice brilliant, Dan Norton brilliant, Mat Turner brilliant when he came on, everyone played massive parts.”
Congratulations to the team – I bet they had a good night celebrating afterwards.