SUSSEX stars Amy Wilson Hardy and Jess Breach played a key role as the England women’s rugby sevens team claimed a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.

It was a Rio redemption for the women. Pipped by Canada in Brazil in the Olympic bronze-medal match two summers ago, fate conspired to match the two teams up again on the Gold Coast.

But this time it was England who emerged victorious.

The 24-19 final scoreline left former Worthing schoolgirl Amy beaming from ear to ear. “To finish with a win has certainly put a few wrongs to right from before,” she said.

“Those kind of games are not always the prettiest but we ground it out in the end and it feels so good. I always thought we had it, this is such a special group and we have so much pride and heart – I knew we could grind it out.

“It was about sticking together, keeping the ball – they are a really good side, very threatening and with some great runners but I knew if we looked after the ball we could do it.

“We have moved on a lot from Rio, this is a different squad.

“We can’t dwell on that kind of thing. That was a tough time emotionally but it gave us the hunger to come back.

“It has been two years since then and this is a great group – I am just excited about the other things to come.”

England’s hopes of a gold-medal match had been crushed as the eventual champions New Zealand handed them a 26-5 defeat.

But Amy insists there is plenty more to come from the squad as they aim to bridge the gap to the Kiwis and the reigning Olympic champions Australia who claimed silver.

“This kind of tournament has given us a really good opportunity to play against the top sides,” she added.

“I think that is what has been missing in the last few tournaments – we haven’t been fighting with the best – with all due respect – because we have had some tough games. But we want to match the Kiwi and Aussie girls consistently.”

Hove Girls Rugby, where Amy used to play, later sent their congratulations and posted a picture of her on its instagram.

l npower is the official partner of Team England.