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England women crash out of sevens World Cup in San Francisco





England sevens men squeeze through to World Cup quarter-finals, as women crash out in San Francisco after suffering shock defeat to Ireland

  • England men will face hosts USA in the quarter-finals of the Sevens World Cup
  • However, their female counterparts were stunned by Ireland in the last 16  
  • Scotland are also in men's last eight after incredible comeback against Kenya 

By Will Kelleher For Mailonline

Published: 03:03 EDT, 21 July 2018 | Updated: 03:44 EDT, 21 July 2018

Brutal was the buzzword of the opening day of the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco — especially for England's women.

In the do-or-die new format of the competition there were always going to be upsets.

For England, it meant two hours after the tournament had officially kicked off at the home of the San Francisco Giants baseball side the professionals had been unceremoniously dumped in the Bay by an amateur side.

Ireland may have gone into this tournament ranked just one place below England but this was a shock.

England's men scraped through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup with victory over Samoa
England's men scraped through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup with victory over Samoa

England's men scraped through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup with victory over Samoa

Particularly as the RFU had effectively put all their eggs in the Sevens basket, having cancelled the XVs Red Roses contracts after the 2017 World Cup Final defeat to the Black Ferns of New Zealand.This group — largely XVs players converted into short-form stars — had two aims this year; the Commonwealth Games, where they won bronze on the Gold Coast, and this World Cup.

And having lost 19-14 to the Irish it meant England faced the ignominy of dropping into the losers bracket — the 'Challenge' draw.

In the World Series events, played every season, there is a pool stage to put the teams into brackets and then the knockout matches begin.

World Rugby changed the format here so as to make sure both Men's and Women's events were played on the same ground, and to spice it up for an American audience.

The giant Coca-Cola sits prominently inside the At&T Park, that is usually baseball ground
The giant Coca-Cola sits prominently inside the At&T Park, that is usually baseball ground

The giant Coca-Cola sits prominently inside the At&T Park, that is usually baseball ground

MEN'S QUARTER-FINAL DRAW  

Scotland v South Africa 

Argentina v Fiji

France v New Zealand 

USA v England

WOMEN'S SEMI-FINAL DRAW

New Zealand v USA 

Australia v France 

But with England left with no chance of lifting the World Cup before it had barely begun that word cropped up again.

'It's brutal if you're on the wrong end of it,' said Emily Scarratt.

'It's really tough, we didn't come here to lose in the first game of the tournament but the nature of it is we dropped into the next phase of it and Sevens is a tough old brutal game, you've got to pick yourself up pretty quickly.

'You don't get second chances and this showed that, but we know what we're capable of.

'Unfortunately we weren't able to produce and Ireland were, fair play to them they're progressing and are in the side of the tournament that we wanted to be in.' 

England did bounce back later on Friday afternoon posting the most dominant score of the day, 59-0 against a desperately weak Mexico side and will now face China in the hunt for ninth place, but really this was a poor showing from the world best-funded Union on the world stage.

'We've had an excellent season together,' Scarratt added.

'Not necessarily in terms of results but in terms of how we've come together as a group. So we want to finish that in a positive way and I think we showed there that we have bounced back already in what was tough circumstances for us. 

'We'll get back out there, rest up and play again tomorrow for each other.' For Ireland it meant a meeting with New Zealand - they were hammered 45-0 later in the day, so face Russia looking to end fifth by winning twice more.

Mike Ellery crosses for England as they set up a quarter-final with hosts USA on Saturday
Mike Ellery crosses for England as they set up a quarter-final with hosts USA on Saturday

Mike Ellery crosses for England as they set up a quarter-final with hosts USA on Saturday

Generally the opening day here knitted together nicely, with at least 25,000 turning up eventually when work finished and the big games rolled along.

The baseball diamond, flattened down and turfed over at the start of the week after the Giants had lost to local rivals the Athletics from Oakland across the Bay on Sunday, was visible in the bottom corner of the pitch — but it did not rip up too much, as some feared.

And it was quite a spectacular setting — beyond 'Levi's Landing' over what would be right field when the sluggers are in town white yachts bobbed in the Bay dappled in sunlight beyond the fence, kids played on the slide within the famous Coke bottle over by the giant baseball glove on 'Dockers Deck'.

Around the park there was the usual buzz of noise, strains of boozed-up chanting and mess of colour so often seen as Sevens weekends.

The hosts, backed by a home crowd, looked in fine form as they dispatched Wales in the last 16
The hosts, backed by a home crowd, looked in fine form as they dispatched Wales in the last 16

The hosts, backed by a home crowd, looked in fine form as they dispatched Wales in the last 16

The crowd were on their feet on the arrival of Fiji, the most exciting side in the sevens circuit
The crowd were on their feet on the arrival of Fiji, the most exciting side in the sevens circuit

The crowd were on their feet on the arrival of Fiji, the most exciting side in the sevens circuit

On it the American women kept alive their dream. There would be no Russian meddling here as the States did not make like their President and kowtow to their Eastern rivals, beating them 33-17.

The penultimate try that sealed it — a bulldozing effort from Ilona Maher - sent one woman, so enthusiastic she could well have been the scorer's mother into a frenzy. In a floral shirt she leapt about, 'wooooo' and claps for emphasis all she could muster.

The score meant the hosts will face the Kiwis, who scored 102 points without reply against Mexico and Ireland, in Saturday's semi-final. Australia and France will fight out to join one of them for a place in the evening's final.

In the Men's event England saved a nation's blushes by squeaking past Samoa 19-15 - aided by a red-card for the Islanders.

They will face the full force of the 'USA-USA-USA' hoards on Saturday as they line up in the quarter-finals against the hosts with most wanting them to fail.

The Americans — bayed on by the partisan support — came out to the Rocky theme and left Wales on the ropes, dispatching them 35-0.

Scotland produced an incredible comeback from 26-0 down to book their quarter-final spot 
Scotland produced an incredible comeback from 26-0 down to book their quarter-final spot 

Scotland produced an incredible comeback from 26-0 down to book their quarter-final spot 

When the Fijian men turned up so did the crowd, proper. AT&T Park was turned light blue with the nation's flag seen in every corner. The Fijians survived a scare - they trailed Japan 10-7 at half-time — but powered on as only they can, winning 35-10.

Elsewhere Scotland staged an amazing comeback from 26-0 down to Kenya to win 31-26 after the buzzer, the New Zealanders beat Russia, South Africa thumped Ireland and Australia lost to France. Argentina advanced to the main draw too, beating Canada.

Tomorrow things get more brutal. The women's event culminates and the men's hits it straps, with more big names set to be whacked out the ballpark.


 

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