England Sevens boss Ben Ryan admits his side now face a “titanic game” against world champions Samoa in the quarter-finals of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Wing Dan Caprice’s two tries helped them cling on to beat Australia 21-19 after they strolled past Sri Lanka (59-7) and Uganda (55-0) in their pool matches.
Samoa won this year’s IRB Sevens World Series and England finished fifth without winning a single one of the tour’s eight tournaments.
But Ryan is upbeat after his side of Sevens specialists outwitted an Australian outfit containing Tri-Nations stars like Lachie Turner and Luke Morahan.
“The job’s not even half done and it’s a really hard day ahead of us but we’ve got momentum and that’s a key thing in a Sevens tournament,” said Ryan.
“Samoa have been brilliant over the last 12 months and I’m sure they’d like to finish off by adding the Commonwealth Games title before that group breaks up.
“But I’m very proud of our 12 players today. Not only did they stick to the script but they showed a real desire to play for the shirt.
“Our backs outplayed an Australian backline that had two internationals in it that played in the last Tri-Nations game. On this occasion we just out-thought them and showed more pride in the shirt."
Caprice’s solo score and a touchline conversion from skipper Ben Gollings kept England in front.
Caprice said: “It’s good to play in those tense games - you’re on a big stage playing against Australia and you can’t really beat that.
“We’re happy to win, we’ve got a good group of players and we’re a tight-knit team. To beat Australia in the way we did was a great moment but we can’t get ahead of ourselves.
“Now we’ve got a quarter-final and it’s a must-win game but we can improve on the Australia performance. There were a few places where we slipped up.”