England beat Russia 15-5 to win the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Sevens Series final at Sandy Park in Exeter.
Tries from Tom Mitchell, Dan Norton and James Rodwell saw England secure victory in their final run out before Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 kicks off in San Francisco on 20 July.
England had earlier run in five tries as they progressed through their Cup quarter-final with a 31-10 win over Germany, before ending Ireland’s 16-match winning run in the 2018 series with a 29-19 victory.
Ireland had earlier breezed through the pool stages with comfortable victories over Sweden, Italy and France before seeing off Georgia 22-12 in the quarter-finals. Anthony Eddy’s side bounced back from the disappointment of losing to England to claim the bronze medal at Portugal’s expense.
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As winners of the first two tournaments in Moscow and Marcoussis, Ireland still hold a 10-point lead over England at the top of the Grand Prix Series standings with just one leg to come, in the Polish city of Lodz on 8-9 September.
On day one of the tournament, England opened with a 43-5 win over Georgia before battling back from 12-0 down with a last-minute Ruaridh McConnochie try against Poland to win 19-12, ending the day with a 27-14 loss to Russia.
Having lost to Russia to concede top spot in Pool C, England started brightly in the final and Mitchell snuck in off the back of a ruck from a metre out for the lead. Mitchell's superb grubber then set up Norton, who had to kick it forward himself before pouncing on the ball just before it ran out of play as England led 10-0 at the break.
In a tight, tactical game, Russia were next to score when Ilia Babaev was able to break through two defenders and cross over despite the attention of Phil Burgess. England restored their two-score lead when Burgess then sent Rodwell sprinting through off the back of an overthrown lineout, and they remained firm until the end to secure the trophy.
“Winning a home tournament in front of such a great crowd is always very special. I’m really pleased with the way that the team performed in this tournament which gives us good momentum going into the World Cup,” said England coach Simon Amor.
“I’m massively impressed with some of the younger players who really stood up this weekend – this is exciting for us going forward in terms of continuing to build depth within our squad.
“A number of the boys have really put their hand up for World Cup selection this weekend and a lot of them are on great form right now, so picking a final 12 is going to be a tough challenge.”
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