England ease to victory but Ryan demands more

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The Independent Online

Ben Ryan believes England must improve quickly if they are to win a fifth Hong Kong Sevens title in seven years.

A young England side – featuring five of the Grand Slam-winning Under-20 team – opened with a 24-12 defeat of Canada on day one of the world's most prestigious sevens event.John Brake, Chris Mayor, Ben Gollings and Matthew Cox touched down in the second half. Ryan, the coach, was pleased. "Potentially, we've got a lovely little mix here," he said. "But time's not on our side. We've got to really accelerate ourselves."

Last night England were due to meet Sri Lanka, who lost their first match 35-7 to Samoa, whose captain, Uale Mai, was making a record 51st appearance at a World Sevens Series event.

Wales beat Zimbabwe 34-0. Gareth Owen, Aled Brew, Lee Williams and Jonathan Edwards each crossed the Africans' line in the opening seven minutes as Wales built a 24-0 lead. Edwards added his second try early in the second period before Alec Jenkins crossed late on for last year's plate winners.

Wales were due to play Fiji and China on day two, with the Pacific Islanders favourites to top the section following a 47-0 win in the other opening Pool D contest.

With two cup quarter-final places available for the best runners-up, every point is important and Edwards was delighted not to concede.

"It was a job well done," he said. "There's no easy team in these tournaments any more. These teams deserve to be here and that's why it's important to start with a victory."

Scotland, who are targeting a 10th successive cup quarter-final appearance on the circuit, scored four tries in a 26-10 defeat of Portugal in Pool E. Heriots' Jim Thompson scored twice before Richie Vernon and his Glasgow team-mate Colin Shaw touched down in the second half.

New Zealand, who are chasing a seventh successive tournament win in the series, beat Chinese Taipei 50-5 and South Africa were impressive in a 40-7 victory over Japan.