England topped Pool C in the London Sevens at Twickenham after comprehensive victories over Fiji and Samoa before losing their final group game against Argentina.
Handed a tricky pool for the first day in which they would come up against the third and fourth-placed teams, England gave the home crowd a lot to shout about as they thrashed former champions Fiji 27-0.
Jeff Williams scored a stunning first half hat-trick in what was England’s biggest victory over the Pacific Islander’s in seven years, which was added to by the series’ leading try scorer Dan Norton and Mike Ellery.
But if that wasn’t enough for the jubilant crowd, they were then treated to biggest win ever over the Samoans with a 34-7 score line. This time it was Norton that scored a hat-trick to take his try tally to 46 for the season. He scored two in the first half along with another Williams try and a score from Marcus Watson to give England a 22-0 half-time lead.
Samoa looked to get back in the game in the second half and scored through Reupena Levasa after some good phase play, but Norton quickly added his third and Mat Turner’s dazzling run allowed Tom Mitchell to finish off the scoring.
England looked to make it three-out-of-three in their final match against Argentina, but it wasn’t to be. Ben Ryan’s side quickly found themselves 14-0 down, and when Norton went over to reduce the deficit, Diego Palma added his second try of the match to restore the lead.
Watson showed what England could do if they maintained possession by scoring early in the second half, but when it looked like England would score a much-needed try, Franco Sabato went over for the Pumas to clinch the win. Norton scored a consolation in the dying moments to take his try count for the day to six, but it was in vain as Argentina ran out 26-17 winners.
England’s vastly superior point’s difference meant they topped the table though, with the hosts, Argentina and Fiji all finishing on two wins each.
With the knock-out stages set to get underway on Sunday, New Zealand will face Argentina, Fiji will meet Kenya, England take on South Africa, who knocked them out in the semi-finals in Glasgow last week, and Australia come up against the United States of America.