Breach is bringing Commonwealth medal back to West Sussex

Jess in Oz, pictured before the sevens tournament
Jess in Oz, pictured before the sevens tournament

Rugby star Jess Breach is the toast of West Sussex after a try-scoring display in the sevens game that won Commonwealth bronze for England's women.

England secured the bronze place on Sunday morning - the final day of the action on the Gold Coast - by beating Canada 24-19.

They dominated possession and ran in four tries to secure third place in this, the first women's sevens tournament ever included at the games.

Breach and her family and friends will be delighted at the medal success.

Everyone at Chichester and Pulborough rugby clubs - where she played as a junior before going on to Harlequins - and at Bognor, where she has been helping launch a girls' section in recent weeks - has been cheering her on, seeing her as the perfect role model to inspire the next generation of female players.

Breach said on Twitter and Instagram: "BRONZE! Amazing experience, couldn't ask for a better team! Been a long journey but worth it in the end."

The suqad's head coach James Bailey said:“I’m over the moon and incredibly proud of what is a very special group. They’ve come together in a very short period of time and have put in a brilliant performance across the weekend – I’m a very proud coach. The success is down to the culture and the environment that the girls have created. That bronze medal match was all about that culture and the willingness to fight for each other down to the last minute – that’s what it’s all about.”

In a tight semi-final before that, New Zealand pulled away in the second half as they secured a 26-5 victory to earn the right to face Australia in the gold medal match. New Zealand went on to beat the Aussies 17-12 to win gold.

In the pool matches, England beat Fiji 17-5 in their opening fixture but lost 12-29 to the Aussies following three second half tries at Robina Stadium. However, they responded on day two with a 45-0 win over Wales.

In the bronze final, England dominated possession in the opening exchanges and were rewarded following a Canada sin bin as Lydia Thompson stepped through the defence to score. Deborah Fleming's fourth try of the tournament got England's second before she turned provider for Claire Allan to score.

Following a Canada try just before half-time, Breach's first score in Australia restored the three-try advantage. Two quickfire Canada tries then made for a tense finish but England held on to secure the bronze medal in Australia.

England's Abbie Brown: "To come out here and get a medal is just an amazing feeling. Canada are a great team and we knew they were going to bring us something and that is good for us as it tested us. It doesn't take a genius to work out this is the start of something special and I'm so proud of all of the girls as they gave 100% out there and I couldn't have asked for more."

Against one of the favourites for this competition in their semi-final, England went down early on to the Black Ferns when Sarah Goss broke the line.

Some neat handling work by Emily Scarratt and Megan Jones eventually saw Brown level the game for England, before some stunning defensive work by Lydia Thompson kept out Portia Woodman. However, the Kiwis were ahead again when Michaela Blyde crossed and then they had to put in a big defensive effort to keep out wave after wave of England pressure on their line.

Shakira Baker and Woodman did go over in the final few minutes to confirm the win as they progressed to the final.

England squad: Claire Allan, Abbie Brown ©, Lydia Thompson, Emily Scarratt, Natasha Hunt, Deborah Fleming, Heather Fisher, Emily Scott, Alex Matthews, Megan Jones, Jess Breach, Amy Wilson Hardy.