World Sevens Series: England lose to Fiji in Dubai final

Fiji win Dubai Sevens final
Fiji won the Dubai Sevens for only the second time in their history

England lost 28-17 to Fiji in the final of the Dubai Sevens as the reigning World Series Sevens champions won the first leg of the new season.

England, who beat the United States 24-19 in the semi-finals, struck first with a Tom Bowen try but then conceded 28 unanswered points by the break.

England, four-time winners in Dubai, replied with tries from Bowen and Phil Burgess but never looked like winning.

Australia won the women's final while England beat Franceexternal-link 10-5 for third.

Fiji's victory is the first time they have beaten England in a men's World Sevens Series final and they are set to be one of the favourites for the title when the truncated version of rugby union makes its Olympic bow in Brazil next summer.

England got the perfect start when Bowen chased down a Dan Bibby 60-yard kick to cross the line.

But their hopes were dashed as Fiji racked up four tries in a devastating five-minute spell as England made too many handling errors.

Jerry Tuwai (right) fights for the ball with England's Tom Mitchell
Jerry Tuwai (right) fights for the ball with England's Tom Mitchell

Savenaca Rawaga, Jasa Vermalua, Isake Katonibau and Jerry Tuwai scored Fiji's tries.

England regrouped at the break and Bowen scored his second try to hint at an England fight-back, but Fiji looked comfortable and there was only 40 seconds remaining when Burgess reduced the arrears further.

England coach Simon Amor said his team was "running on empty".

"Fiji were so dangerous and they retained possession so well we just didn't have the guys to make the tackles," he added.

"We blooded two debutants in the final so overall I'm delighted."

Earlier, United States beat New Zealand 31-14 in the third place match.

South Africa won a thrilling Plate final with a 19-14 extra-time victory over Australia, while France beat Scotland 24-14 in the Bowl final.

The 10-leg series moves on to Cape Town on 12-13 December.