English flier Dan Norton writes his name into Sevens folklore with try in Korea romp
Winger becomes sport’s leading try-scorer as he goes over for his 245th effort moving clear of Kenya’s Collins Injera
The look on Dan Norton’s face was a mixture of joy and relief as the Englishman wrote his name into the annals of sevens history on Friday night as he became the game’s all-time try scorer.
For the moment at least.
The try – at 2.32 of the second half as England swept past South Korea 52-0 – moved Norton to 245, and ahead of Kenya’s Collins Injera (244), who is also here at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and, like Norton, is capable of anything on his day.
So the battle between the two will continue to play out this weekend, and the HSBC Sevens World Series plays out.
It was a kick forward and a collect that did it for Norton, and his teammates rushed to celebrate with their star.
“It was an amazing feeling,” said the 29-year-old winger. “It was always hard with the record in sight to try to control my brain coming into it. Everybody is talking about it and obviously there are well-wishers with family and friends back home.
“The main thing was to concentrate on my process and what got me here in the first place and has got me to my 60-odd tournaments. So, yeah, it was nice to get it out of the way early and get over the line and get the cheers out of the way. Onwards and upwards and on with the tournament and hopefully we can get ourselves in a good position.”
England have rolled into town off a victory over series leaders South Africa in Vancouver and with the young players coach Simon Amor has blooded over the past 12 months starting to shine.
Amor gave a few of them a run out from the start against the Koreans and the 19-year-old Charlton Kerr’s two tries showed the shape of things to come. The youngster would do well to follow Norton’s path closely. As Amor has said all week, he’s kept himself remarkably free from injury over his career, and is apparently consistently the last one in off the track.
The man himself brushed off any praise for his durability.
“I’m just lucky to be injury free,” he said. “We got amazing support staff and at the same time I played with some amazing players in the England set up over the year and had some great coaches obviously in Simon Amor and Ben Ryan who brought me in. I’ve been lucky to play with players who have always pushed me and got me in the right position and places.”
Amor was pleased with the effort against a team he admitted knowing nothing much about and said there was plenty still to come from Norton.
“He’s a world-class player and a world-class winger,” said Amor. “It’s going to fascinating over the next few tournament because Injera is still playing so it’ll be one going up, one going down. The exciting thing for Dan is that he’s got a few more years left in him so he will keep on getting better.”
World Series leaders South Africa also ground out a victory – 17-10 over France – as the tournament played out to form in the early exchanges.
There was plenty of applause from the near-on sell-out of 38,000 for one-time Hong Kong mentor Gareth Baber’s return to town. His Fijians have struggled recently but always seem to save a little extra for an event they have won 16 times, including last year. They steamrolled Japan 36-0.