England claim Commonwealth Youth Sevens gold

(IRB.COM) Sunday 11 September 2011
 England claim Commonwealth Youth Sevens gold
England beat South Africa 41-20 in the gold medal match

England Rugby Sevens produced a dominant display of attacking rugby at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man, winning all six matches and beating southern hemisphere rivals South Africa 41-20 in the final to claim gold.

So impressive was their display in the final, coach Ben Ryan said that the team performed "as well as I’ve seen any England side play".

The Rugby Sevens gold cemented England’s place at the top of the Games medal table, ahead of Australia.

Coached by England Sevens supremo Ben Ryan and England Under 18 coach John Fletcher, the English youngsters got off to a flying start on day one, beating Trinidad & Tobago 53-0 before putting 64 unanswered points past Sri Lanka. In their final pool match they beat South Africa 7-5 in a tight affair.

Ryan's side then beat hosts Isle of Man and Scotland to reach the final against the impressive Boks, who beat Australia to reach the final.

The junior Wallabies rallied to beat the Scots and take the bronze medal, before England beat SA to the gold medal.

“There is never really a breathing space in Sevens, but getting a bigger lead just before half time was good," said Jack Arnott, who scored a hat trick in the final.

“We played South Africa before and we knew they would fight back so we really had to keep on our toes and make sure we were ruthless.”

Coach Ben Ryan was full of praise for his young team, adding: “I’m absolutely delighted. I’ve looked after England sides for five years, at Commonwealth Games and World Sevens tournaments, and in the last 10 minutes they played as well as I’ve seen any England side play."

Eight teams competed in the Rugby Sevens event at the Commonwealth Youth Games. They were England (gold), South Africa (silver), Australia (bronze), Canada, Isle of Man (hosts), Scotland, Sri Lanka and Trinidad & Tobago.