- England tie up title despite 'dramatic' final Euro tournament
- Mix of new and established names impress head coach Ryan
Photo: Getty Images
England wrapped up victory in this summer's FIRA-AER European Sevens GP Series by reaching the Plate final in Odense.
Head coach Ben Ryan's mix of full-timers, new signings and triallists had carried all before them in winning tournaments in Lyon and Moscow already this summer.
They exited the cup competition in the third leg in Denmark after a 14-7 defeat against France but a 28-21 victory against Russia in the Plate semi final assured them of overall victory so that captain John Brake could lift the trophy.
Former IRB Sevens Player of the Year Ollie Phillips dominated the win over Russia with a hat-trick of tries, converting all three and then adding the extra points to a score from Dan Norton.
Once the title was won, England dipped out 21-14 against Georgia in the Plate final, but after winning 17 out of 20 European games Ryan was satisfied with the outcome.
"The final leg was more dramatic than we'd have liked and we wanted to win all three European tournaments but we achieved the goals we set ourselves in this competition," said Ryan.
"We wanted to win the European title and we wanted to blood new players, and only two of the squad featured in all three tournaments, so it was pleasing to be able to mix things up.
"We had three who were 19 or younger in Odense in James Lightfoot-Brown, Joel Hodgson (Newcastle Falcons) and Marcus Webber (Manchester GS & Leeds Carnegie), so the future's looking very bright."
England are back in action in the autumn, when the 2012-13 HSBC Sevens World Series kicks off with the opening two legs on the Gold Coast in Australia (October 13-14) and La Plata in Argentina (October 20-21).