England captain Phil Burgess hailed his side’s grit and fighting spirit after they won bronze at the Singapore Sevens at the weekend.
The English lost to France before notching up impressive wins against Japan, South Africa and Kenya on their way to the semi-finals which they lost to Canada. However, they bounced back to beat Australia in the Bronze Medal match to take third place in the tournament.
The feat was all the more impressive as the team was missing Tom Mitchell, Charlton Kerr and Ethan Waddleton and then had to deal with losing Richard de Carpentier in the first game.
And Burgess, who was deputising as skipper for the injured Mitchell, was especially proud of the determination shown by the team:
“The character the boys showed throughout was fantastic,” Burgess told englandrugby.com.
“To work hard against Kenya all game and then to finally win the penalty, knock it over and win by a point shows that gritty determination.
“Then even in that last game against Australia we were put to sword but worked hard, made plenty of tackles in our own 22m to force an error and that is something we are really proud of.”
The 28-year-old has also praised the youngsters who had to step up after the injuries to some of the more experienced statesmen.
“It’s a great opportunity for those young guys, stepping up, getting experience of an HSBC world rugby sevens series tournament and I think they did fantastically well,” he said.
“They just want to go out and enjoy themselves, express themselves and I think they did that. They went out there, showed how good they are and I’m really proud to have led them out.”
Meanwhile, head coach Simon Amor has said while we has not happy with the overall quality of his side’s play, he too, like Burgess, was impressed by the character shown on the day.
“We were far from our best this weekend – our decision making wasn’t good enough and that is something we need to address going forwards,” said Amor.
“However to keep on scrapping and fighting and to get on the podium with the number of injuries we have is pleasing.
“To see the young guys go so well is exciting when looking to the future. A number of them started in that final game against Australia, there’s no better place to develop experience than in a medal match against tough opposition, and it was impressive the way that they all stepped up.”