England win IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup
Photo: IRB/Martin Seras Lima
England beat Australia 15-10 in a breathless final at the Hong Kong Stadium to take the second IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup title.
Inspired by two tries from captain Michaela Staniford, England beat the defending women's Hong Kong champions Canada in their semi final and then beat Australia, who had themselves overpowered USA in the second semi.
Deadlocked at 10-10, the final looked set for extra time, but England worked space for Joanne Watmore to go over for the winner.
"It's an amazing feeling, I can't really express it," said Watmore moments after touching down. "We learnt a few things from Dubai and worked on a few things. We have a few different players in place which gave us the edge in the final. Next stop is London."
England came up short in Dubai in November, losing to Canada in the final but here captain Michaela Staniford led from the front, including another superb performance in the final.
"It feels amazing (to win in Hong Kong), we have been thinking about it for a long time, it has been a long awaited tournament. To come away and take the Cup is amazing, it feels great, absolutely brilliant."
England were forced to produce their best by reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Australia, at the end of a tournament which demonstrated that the women's Sevens Game continues to become more and more competitive.
"It is tough, especially with the amount of teams going semi-pro and pro," added Staniford. "We are not there just yet but the more teams competing at a level, the more teams that are going away to train harder, is only going to increase the level.
"To come and play a final like that, in front of this many people, that is televised, changes the thoughts on the women's game, and will hopefully increase the number of followers we have."
In the Plate competition, on Friday Spain ground out a tight 12-7 win over China on the main Hong Kong Sevens pitch.
Russia beat the Netherlands 5-0 to finish in seventh, and Bazil finished with a win against Hong Kong to end in ninth place and take the Bowl.
Full results - IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup
24 March 2012
Cup semi finals
Canada 12-22 England
Australia 33-0 USA
England 15-10 Australia
23 March 2012, Hong Kong Football Club
Canada 45-0 Brazil
Brazil 0-29 Russia
Canada 24-5 Russia
England 31-7 China
China 35-5 Japan
England 38-0 Japan
Australia 28-21 Netherlands
Netherlands 19-5 Hong Kong
Australia 52-0 Hong Kong
USA 8-5 Spain
Spain 45-0 Tunisia
USA 20-0 Tunisia
Bowl semi finals
Hong Kong 22-0 Tunisia
Brazil 14-12 Japan
Plate semi finals
China 21-12 Russia
Netherlands 0-14 Spain
Japan 33-0 Tunisia
Russia 5-0 Netherlands
Bowl final (9th /10th)
Brazil 19-7 Hong Kong
Plate final(5th/6th) (Hong Kong Stadium)
China 7-12 Spain