KEIGHLEY star Ellie Kildunne finally got the chance to show her pace and power for England during the World Rugby Sevens Series, with the 20-year-old getting a double dose of action Down Under.

Having missed the first three tournaments of the series, held in the United States, Dubai and South Africa, due to injury, she returned as England played consecutive weekend tournaments in New Zealand and Australia.

It was perhaps no coincidence that, with former Keighley Albion player Kildunne returning to the side, England achieved their best finishes of the series, coming sixth in Hamilton and Sydney.

The 10 points they picked up in each tournament saw them vault above Spain and up to eighth with 36 points in the series.

It also allowed them to make some ground up on the two teams immediately above them, Russia and Fiji, and they will fancy their chances of overtaking them both at the next tournament in Hong Kong.

In the Sydney tournament at the weekend, England made a good start. They were hugely impressive in beating Russia 33-0, then ran in five tries to down Japan 26-5. Kildunne grabbed the final score in the latter contest.

To no-one's surprise, they lost, albeit bravely, to eventual winners New Zealand 26-12 in their last Pool A game.

That left them with a fifth-placed play-off against Fiji, which ended with a disappointing 17-5 defeat to their Pacific rivals. A win would have taken England up to at least seventh in the overall standings.

Afterwards, head coach Charlie Hayter said: “Although the end result of the Sydney leg shows us finishing in the same place as we did last week in Hamilton, the performances and growth shown this weekend is remarkably different.

“I’m proud of the effort and intent of the squad on and off the field this week as we continue on our World Series journey. We’ve now got some time to build towards an exciting addition to the series as Hong Kong welcomes the women for the first time.”

It was interesting to see the comparisons that Hayter made with Hamilton, and looking at the results in New Zealand a week earlier, it seems a fair point.

England lost both of their first two games at that tournament, admittedly in a tough Pool A.

They were beaten 26-19 by Fiji in the opener, a game which saw Kildunne grab a 12th minute try, before New Zealand administered a 40-7 thrashing in game two.

An easy 31-0 victory over lowly China in their final group fixture perhaps fortunately sent England into a fifth-placed play-off, but they did not make the most of the opportunity.

The USA side, who are the only team to win a tournament in the women's series other than New Zealand, delivered a masterclass to destroy England 45-5.

The weekend at least ended on a positive personal note for Kildunne, who grabbed England's only try of that game.

While the men's series sees a tournament in Los Angeles at the end of this month (February 29) and one in Vancouver the following weekend, the women do not play again until they visit Hong Kong, with the men's teams, on April 3.