SCOTLAND lost out to England in the first Auld Enemy clash of the day at the HSBC Sevens World Series event in New Zealand.
Wins over Fiji, by 14-12, and Portugal (19-17) and a 29-5 defeat to Australia on Friday were enough to see Scotland through to their first Cup quarter-final in 20 tournaments.
Scotland’s 31-7 defeat by England meant they went into the Plate semi-final, where they returned to form to beat Argentina 35-5 thanks to five converted tries from Mark Robertson, Scott Riddell, Russell Weir, Michael Fedo and James Fleming.
They met group opponents Australia again in the final and a single James Johnstone try was not enough as a very strong and physical Wallabies side triumphed 22-7.
Scotland Sevens interim head coach, Stephen Gemmell, said: “Every point and every game in the circuit are vital for our series campaign and World Cup Sevens seeding.
“This weekend it has been clear any team can beat anyone in the World Series so we need to keep up momentum as we go to Vegas next weekend. Finishing sixth will give us a firm building block to do that.
“Our opening match today was disappointing and we made too many mistakes that England capitalised on. Then we played some good rugby against Argentina and Australia but we gave them an easy start that made the rest of the game very difficult.
“Massive credit to the players, they have taken big strides this weekend in terms of their confidence.”
After beating the Scots, England went on to claim their first tournament victory of the season with a thrilling extra-time win over surprise packages Kenya in Wellington.
England eased past Samoa 21-19 in the semi-finals but looked set to suffer defeat at the hands of the Africans when they trailed 19-12 with the full-time whistle imminent.
However, captain Tom Powell’s converted try drew England level to send the match to sudden-death extra-time, where 20-year-old Sam Edgerley scored the match-winning try.
Powell heaped praise on Kenya, who, under former England sevens coach Mike Friday, were playing in only their second-ever final after stunning New Zealand in the semis. Powell said: “That was incredible. The atmosphere is incredible, the Kenyan team are incredible. The physically limits were pushed beyond today. It was amazing, and for the boys to come through like that, after the year we had, just shows the determination and how we’ve pulled together.”
Hosts New Zealand finished third with a 17-7 victory over Samoa to extend their lead at the top of the series standings to 21 points over Kenya, who climbed up to second. England are up to eighth with 37 points after four rounds.
Canada upset Fiji 28-19 to win the Bowl final and Wales saw off Tonga 26-21 to claim the Shield final.