England stun hosts to claim Cape Town Sevens crown

England stun hosts to claim Cape Town Sevens crown

England Rugby Sevens team defeated hosts South Africa in the final to claim the Cape Town Sevens title

tom-hiscott
Tom Hiscott

England produced a stunning trio of performances on day two to claim the Cape Town Sevens title. 

After toppling World and Olympic champions Fiji after extra-time of their quarter-final, England crushed rivals Scotland in the semi-final before stunning a hosts South Africa in front of a sell-out home crowd at the Cape Town Stadium

The Blitzboks had won all 13 of their matches this season heading to the final and were overwhelming favourites having claimed the last three home tournaments, yet they went down to a 19-17 defeat to Simon Amor's young charges. 

Norton shows finishing prowess as England build first-half lead

Dan Norton had got England's day off to a scintilating start, racing away to claim a walk-off try in their 31-26 win over Fiji in the last eight. They then produced a five-try performance to defeat Scotland 33-14 in the semi-finals to book a spot in the final against the unbeaten South Africans who disposed of New Zealand in their semi. 

The raucous home crowd had played a big part in South Africa's six-match winning streak over the weekend, and when Chris Dry opened the scoring in the final it looked like they may back up last week's triumph in Dubai

England had other ideas however, and a break from his own half saw Richard de Carpentier race away to level the scores, with Tom Mitchell adding the subsequent conversion to put the underdogs 7-5 up. 

From the subsequent kick-off, England regained possession, and after a pair of strong runs, the ball was shipped wide to Norton who tiptoed his way over the line for a 12-5 lead. 

England's six men hang on to claim unlikely title

South Africa came out firing in the second half and were soon level on the scoreboard after Rosko Specman produced a moment of magic to dance his way under the posts. Amor's side were back up against the wall, yet managed to continue to pressure the home side like nobody else had managed all season.

After a couple of minutes in the South African 22', a brilliant pass from Mitchell found its way to Ruaridh McConnochie who stepped inside one to touch down. The crucial conversion was nailed by England skipper Mitchell to move his side into a 19-12 lead with two minutes left on the clock. 

The pressure amped up another level, and with Norton in the sin-bin for a high tackle, South Africa managed to break down their undermanned opponents with Werner Kok crossing in the corner. England's desperation in defence proved crucial however, with Justin Geduld missing the potential game-tying conversion from wide out and handing England the win. 

England now sit second on the overall ladder this season on 39 points, two points behind South Africa with Fiji third on 32. The teams now get Christmas off, before returning in Wellington at the start of 2017 where England will hope to continue their excellent start to the campaign. 

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