Cowell has the X-factor
England Academy too strong for Australia's Sunnybank
His father is Simon Cowell, and he's heard all the jokes and been teased for it for some time now.
Even if he's not related to the reality television judge, England Academy winger Cameron Cowell showed he has the X-Factor yesterday when he put up an MVP performance in the SCC Rugby Sevens final to help his team beat Australia's Sunnybank to lift the Ablitt Cup.
The speedy 20-year-old scored two tries to help his team overturn an early 7-0 deficit and romp to a handsome 40-21 victory at the Padang.
"It's unbelievable because I have always felt this is one of the best tournaments I've played in," said Cowell, whose brother plays scrum half for Twickenham while twin sister Heather, a gymnast, won gold at the 2013 World Championships in the tumbling discipline.
"I was here last year when we lost the plate final, and we had an older side then. It says a lot about the strides we have made despite this being only the second time we are playing together as a sevens team.
"I scored two tries, but it was really the boys who created the space for me. This team success is really all down to working hard and being good mates. We trust each other.
"After missing out on the Olympic squad, the aim is to definitely get into the next one for Tokyo 2020.
"With more preparation, Great Britain (they lost to Fiji in the sevens final in Rio in August) can aim to do better than silver."
Sunnybank took a shock lead less than 90 seconds into the game through Josh Edmond, and that shook England Academy out of their slumber as they responded almost immediately before going into the break 21-14 up.
Cowell's second try and Callum Sirker's first gave England Academy an almost unassailable 33-14 lead going into the last three minutes.
There was still time for Sunnybank to conjure up the play of the day amid the rumble and tumble of the fast-paced game.
Issak Fines played a delightful behind-the-back pass for Fred Durrough to latch on to and score a try, with the resulting conversion narrowing the score to 33-21.
Oskar Hirskyl-Douglas then tumbled over the line one last time for England Academy to seal a deserved win.
Sunnybank captain Alfonso Horomia, 24, said: "We have played in this tournament for eight years and this is by far our best result.
"We are very proud that an amateur club from Brisbane can come this far and take the fight to a team with such resources and size of a union.
"But the England Academy are deserved winners. They are very smart, a lot of our game plan is built on kickoffs and they changed it up, kicked it all over the place and we couldn't handle that. They were just too quick for us, too."
With an academy team comprising players aged 18 to 29, fortunes are definitely looking up for England ahead of the World Series and Tokyo 2020.
Captain Ethan Waddleton, 19, added: "We know we have the engine, it's all about putting in the finishing touches.
"There's definitely many good players coming up with the under-18s and under-20s, and some of them who are here this week have shown their skills and abilities.
"In the semi-final, we beat Fijian side Daveta, who had Olympic champions in their team, and won the final to prove it was not a fluke. England rugby sevens is on the rise and is surely one to look out for."
In the Shield Final, Daveta beat Papua New Guinea's InterOil Turagu 36-12, while French side Froggies Sevens Rugby Club defeated Japan's Tamariva Rugby Football Club 35-0 to win the Bowl Final.
Encouraging signs for Singapore
TAG TEAM: Singapore’s Marah Ishraf and Jay-Hykel Jailani looking to disrupt NS Wanderers’ tryscoring at the 69th edition of the Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens Plate Semi-final match. PHOTO COuRTESY OF SCC 7S
There were some reasons for cheer for the Singapore national rugby sevens team at the Padang yesterday after they broke their duck and won their first match at the SCC Rugby Sevens.
In the Plate quarter-finals, they beat Froggies Sevens Rugby Club from France 7-0 to make it to the semi-finals for the first time.
It could have been even sweeter, but Singapore narrowly missed out on the final after going down 15-12 to Negeri Sembilan Wanderers Rugby Club right at the death in their semi-final clash.
The Singapore Cricket Club later beat Negeri 26-14 to be crowned Plate champions.
Regardless, Singapore captain Marah Ishraf believes his team are on the right track as they aim to improve on last year's bronze medal at next year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur.
The 22-year-old said: "It is always a good experience to play against professional opponents.
"We managed to shut out Froggies in the quarter-finals and that was one of our better performances.
"It was disappointing to lose the semis the way we did. To come back from 10-0 down and lead 12-10 before losing right at the end... but we've got to take it on the chin.
"We definitely can still improve in areas such as game awareness, composure and discipline, but it has been a positive tournament for us in the build up to the SEA Games."
Their next big assignment are the two legs of the Asia Rugby Development Sevens Series in February, when Singapore will try to win promotion back into the first division.