Near Miss for England in Hong Kong
England lost to New Zealand 29 - 17 in the final of the HSBC World Series Sevens and slip to second in the overall standings. However, the tournament was a personal success for Navy player Cpl Greg Barden (HMNB Portsmouth) who scored 5 tries during the tournament, including one in the final. The England team now travel to Adelaide, Australia for the 6th leg of the series.
However, Greg is returning to the UK to join with his Navy colleagues as they prepare to take on the Marine Nationale (French Navy) at Plymouth Albion on Thu 31 night. Last season the French where worthy winners in the cauldron of Stade Mayol in front of 10,000 partisan Toulon fans. Greg and the rest of the Navy team are certainly hoping that the traditional fervent support the Navy gets at Brickfields will help to lift the side as they seek to rectify last year's loss. Royal Navy v Marine Nationale, Brickfields, Plymouth Albion RFC, Thursday 31 March, KO 19:00
Full match report of the final courtesy of RFU.com
England Sevens captain Ben Gollings urged his side to bounce straight back after going down 29-17 against New Zealand in the final of the Cathay Pacific Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens.
England saw off Russia 10-7 and Samoa 19-14 in the knock-out stages to reach a fourth final in five HSBC Sevens World Series events this season.
Mathew Turner, Bristol wing Dan Norton and Royal Navy forward Greg Barden scored tries for England but Frank Halai's brace either side of half time opened up an unassailable lead for the Kiwis.
New Zealand pick up 30 points for the tournament win and England 25 in what is turning into a two-horse race for the title with three events remaining.
The teams head to Adelaide (April 2-3) before the series arrives in Europe for the Emirates Airline London and Edinburgh tournaments (May 21-22 and 28-29).
Gollings said: "It wasn't our day. We played well up until the final and never really got out of the starting blocks. We do all the hard work and then don't bring it out - sometimes it takes time to learn how to play finals.
"There was a lot of pressure on us to reach the final and we've done that. We're still close to New Zealand and we've got our home tournament to come and Adelaide next week so it's all to play for.
"I've said to the guys 'it hurts, remember how it feels and put it out there next week'. Now we've got start turning these finals into wins."
Earlier England edged past fast improving Russia thanks to tries from Barden and Turner before going on to beat defending champions Samoa in the last four.
Gollings cancelled out Uale Mai's early try and Norton struck after the interval before Chris Cracknell's decisive score sealed victory.
England head coach Ben Ryan added: "We had the goods to come up with a win but we just couldn't get the job done. There were some key moments we didn't take advantage of in the final and New Zealand did."