At the halfway point of the FIRA-AER European Sevens Grand Prix Series England’s men lead the way in the standings after claiming the Moscow title with a crushing 47-12 victory over Portugal in Sunday’s final.
England’s Moscow triumph came on the back of a disappointing seventh place finish in the first tournament in France and will serve as an ideal confidence booster ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Games.
Twice England beat France, winners on home soil in Lyon, en route to the final, with victories in the pool stage (35-12) and the quarter-final (28-7). In the semi-final, a try in each half from Dan Norton helped England to see off Georgia, 33-5, and set up a date with Portugal in what was a repeat of the 2011 Moscow final.
Portugal had grown stronger as the tournament progressed, and they made amends for an earlier pool defeat by Scotland with a 10-5 victory over the same opposition in the last four.
The final proved a match too far though, and a hat-trick from Phil Burgess and tries from the returning Mike Ellery, newcomer Charlie Hayter, a third former Moseley man James Rodwell, and Tom Mitchell saw England claim a third straight Moscow title.
Lyon champions France finished the tournament 11th after suffering a shock 43-0 hammering at the hands of Belgium in the Plate. Only Romania, wooden-spoonists in Lyon, kept them off the bottom of the table.
Two other FIRA-AER Sevens tournaments took place over the weekend, with the Czech Republic Men’s team winning their home tournament in Division B North after a 35-7 win over Norway in the final in Prague, while Hungary defeated host nation Lithuania 40-5, in Division B of the Women’s Series.
FIRA European Sevens Grand Prix 2014
GPS 1 France – Lyon 7 – 8 June (France champions)
GPS 2 Russia – Moscow 28 – 29 June (England champions)
GPS 3 England – Manchester 13 – 14 September
GPS 4 Romania – Bucharest 20 – 21 September