Five tries from University of Bath graduate Amy Wilson Hardy helped England Women finish third overall in the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens.
The Bristol RFC centre, who completed her Integrated Mechanical and Electrical Engineering course in the summer, made a flying start to the tournament as she ran in a hat-trick of tries in a 35-0 win over Japan.
A 14-7 victory against Spain ensured England qualified for the quarter-finals, despite a 24-7 defeat to eventual champions Australia in their final match in Pool C.
Wilson Hardy then scored an early try in an exciting last-eight showdown with Canada, which England won 17-12, and was also on the scoresheet in a last-gasp 19-12 defeat to Russia in the semi-finals.
England responded well, though, and secured third place overall with a dramatic 10-5 win over France thanks to a try in the last minute of sudden-death extra-time.
Head Coach Simon Middleton said: “The girls executed the game plan perfectly against Canada and then against Russia we were potentially one play away from making the final.
“To bounce back from that disappointment and find a way to win against France, a team we are very familiar with, was fantastic.”
Wilson Hardy was one of the first-ever intake of women in the UK to sign a professional contract with the RFU and is aiming to represent Great Britain when rugby sevens makes its Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games.