The unheralded squad were set to play Australia in the quarter-finals of the Melrose Cup in Mar del Plata last night thanks to Daisure Ohata of Japan, whose injury-time try gave his side a shock 12-7 win over Spain, allowing England to qualify on points difference, despite losing 17-7 to New Zealand in their final Group C encounter.
England, Japan and Spain finished on the same points, but coach Adrian Thompson’s team went through in second place behind the All Blacks. Australia topped Group D after beating Samoa 34-12 after a battling display against the Kiwis.
Wales qualified for the quarter-finals of the subsidiary competition, the Plate, with third place in Group D behind Australia and Samoa.
But Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the Plate competition were dashed when they were beaten 28-5 by Russia in their final match to finish fifth in Group A. They now play in the Bowl, against Chinese Taipei in the quarter-final.