England Women bowed out of the Cape Town Sevens at the quarter-final stage after a 26-21 defeat to New Zealand.
Skipper Abbie Brown gave England the perfect start before Kelly Brazier levelled for the side who secured gold in Dubai.
Despite having Deborah Fleming cautioned and sent to the sin bin, Amy Wilson Hardy’s double either side of the break put England in control but the Black Ferns Sevens turned the match on its head.
Tyla Nathan-Wong and Ruby Tui crossed to take the contest to extra time and youngster Mahina Paul’s last-gasp try denied England.
Head coach Charlie Hayter said: “I’m really pleased with the effort and the fight the girls showed throughout the whole weekend and how we took the learnings from Dubai and got better in each game we played.
“It’s exciting for me to see where this group can potentially go and how we’ve shown that on and off the pitch over the last two weeks.
“Obviously it was a disappointing result against New Zealand but I’m really proud of the girls and how they stuck in it and kept fighting until the end.”
Friday 13 December
Pool C - England 0-32 Australia
Saturday 14 December
Pool C - USA 21-7 England
Tries: Fleming ‘15
Pool C - England 36-7 Ireland
Tries: Quansah ‘1 and ‘4, Matthews ‘8, Uren ‘8, Fleming ’11,Ounsley ’13
Sunday 13 December
Cup quarter-final - New Zealand 26-21 England
Tries: Brown ‘3, Wilson Hardy ‘9, 10’
England Women Sevens squad for quarter-final
Abbie Brown (C)
Amy Wilson Hardy