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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Abbie Brown hopeful of England prospects after unbeaten start at Dubai Rugby Sevens

Victorious in all three of their games on Thursday, which include success over Australia and United States

England's Emily Scarratt in action on the opening day of the Dubai Rugby Sevens. England had a good day winning all three games. Getty
England's Emily Scarratt in action on the opening day of the Dubai Rugby Sevens. England had a good day winning all three games. Getty

Abbie Brown, the England captain, is hopeful her side can break the Australia-New Zealand duopoly in the Dubai Rugby Sevens, after going through the opening day undefeated.

England made a perfect start to the tournament with three wins from three in a group that included both last year’s finalists, Australia and United States.

They opened with a 26-12 win over the defending champion Australians, then claimed a narrow 14-12 success over the US, before beating China 38-0.

“All three games were important to us,” Brown said. “First up against Australia, we put in a hell of a performance, then we carried that on throughout the day.

“It was a big shift by all of the girls and I am so proud of them all. That heart and the attitude we showed today, we have to bring it again tomorrow.

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“We didn’t ever give up the fight. That USA game, we played right up to the final whistle, and that won us the game.

“Sevens is brutal like that. It is end to end stuff and you can’t give up. Something we have shown today is we have that in our locker.”

Australia and New Zealand have alternated winning the Dubai title between them over the past six seasons, and, in 2010, Canada beat England in the final.

“It is a journey for us,” Brown said. “We are just starting out with a very new group. You can’t teach hard work and work rate.

“That is something we have been working really hard on back at home, our passion and desire to work for one another.

“We have been showing that out there today, and getting the results to go with it is an added bonus. We have to do that tomorrow and keep going game by game.”

England’s dubious reward for their success is a quarter-final on Friday against Australia, who went through despite finishing third in the group.

“They will come out stronger, as will we,” Sharnie Williams, the Australia captain, said.

“It is bittersweet. We want to come out on top as they got one over on us.”

Canada and New Zealand were also unbeaten on Day 1. New Zealand will face Russia in the last eight, while Canada play Ireland, and the US face France.

“We need to step it up another 10 per cent because all the other teams will as well,” Michaela Blyde, the New Zealand wing, said.