England won the home leg of the IRB World Sevens Series at Twickenham in London on Sunday with a thrilling 31-26 victory over New Zealand in a classic final that went to sudden death extra time.
In front of a festive home crowd, the England side staged a miraculous comeback with three quick fire tries after being 19-0 down at half time. Tries from Uche Oduoza, Micky Young, and James Rodwell pulled things back after New Zealand had flown ahead early on, thanks to a Kurt Baker try, and two from Julien Savea.
At 19-19 and with little time left in the match, the ever impressive Zar Lawrence crossed for the try that looked like breaking English hearts.
An inspired substitution by English coach Ben Ryan meant that the flying youngster Dan Norton came on and with his first touch of the ball, gassed the New Zealand defence to score a classic try and keep the home side in the match.
Three minutes into extra time, Mickey Young darted over for the winning try, capping a sensational final that will live long in the memory of those who turned out at Twickenham to support this fantastic shortened version of the game.
“We never gave up believing in ourselves even though we were 19-0 down at half time,” said England coach Ben Ryan. “We knew we had a mountain to climb, New Zealand had their tails up and we hadn’t been making progress.
“In the second half we allowed ourselves to breathe a bit more in attack and tightened up our defence. Then we brought on Dan Norton and that was that.”
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