England will face Australia in the HSBC London Sevens quarter-finals on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Action, after finishing second in Pool C on day one of the ninth leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
In sunny conditions at Twickenham, England started with a comprehensive 34-0 victory over France, where Ollie Lindsay-Hague grabbed a hat-trick, but lost 31-14 to the USA in their second fixture.
A 38-12 victory against Kenya in their final match of the day secured passage to the last eight, and a bout with Australia, who topped Pool B after victories over Ireland, Wales and Spain.
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Elsewhere, Ireland Sevens made history by qualifying for their very first cup quarter-final by finishing second in Pool B, and will face the winners of England’s pool, the USA, on Sunday.
The Irish, who were invited to the event and were appearing in the series for the first time since 2004, dispatched Spain 38-10 to make history.
Fiji took steps towards a fourth consecutive tournament win on the circuit with dominant victories over Argentina, Scotland and New Zealand to top Pool A. They will face Pool D runners-up Canada in the first of the cup quarter-finals.
South Africa, despite a surprising defeat to Samoa, finished top of Pool D after wins over Canada and Russia and will face Pool A runners-up New Zealand in the quarters.
Sunday’s London Sevens quarter-finals
Fiji v Canada
USA v Ireland
South Africa v New Zealand
Australia v England
Heading into that clash with Kenya, England were one point behind the Africans within their respective pool and knew only victory would do to survive – Kenya having registered one victory and one draw earlier in the day.
Kenya enjoyed the majority of the ball in the opening minutes and took the lead when William Ambaka Ndayara ran in from distance, Lindsay-Hague responding for England by gathering his own kick ahead to level the game.
A brilliant through-the-legs pass by Lindsay-Hague was the catalyst for Dan Norton’s fifth of the afternoon, before Mike Ellery powered through to put England 19-7 up at the break.
In a game which saw England’s James Rodwell reach 400 matches on the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit when he appeared at half-time, Lindsay-Hague got his second from Phil Burgess’ offload – also his fifth of the day.
Ellery added a second to his account and Charlie Hayter crossed as England cruised into the quarter-finals, before Kenya added a consolation try at the death through Herman Humwa.
England wing Dan Norton: “Obviously it was amazing to play in the sun, with the amazing support here but it was three really tough games across the board but it was nice to cap the day with a win and progress into the quarter-final.
“It was kind of the perfect day in a way to play at home at Twickenham with family and friends watching and to get into the quarter-finals is just great.”
England back Ollie Lindsay-Hague: “It was a great feeling to be amongst the tries and hopefully I can keep going and keep scoring.
“Australia will be a tough game as they’re a very good side this season, we know what they’re about but we’re looking forward to it.”
England’s day one results:
Pool C: England 34-0 France
Pool C: England 14-31 USA
Pool C: England 38-12 Kenya
Cup quarter-final: England v Australia (Sunday 3 June, 12.04pm, Sky Sports Action)
Tune into Sky Sports Action from 9.15am to catch Day Two of the HSBC London Sevens from Twickenham.