England head coach Simon Amor has delivered an upbeat verdict on his squad's sevens campaign that ended with defeat in the World Cup final.
Amor's side's hopes of achieving sevens World Cup glory for the first time since 1993 were dashed by New Zealand in San Francisco.
England, inaugural sevens world champions 25 years ago, reached the final at AT&T Park by beating Samoa, the United States and South Africa.
But they met their match in New Zealand, going down to a 33-12 defeat despite tries from Mike Ellery and Ruaridh McConnochie.
"This marks the end of a very long year, but I am really pleased with the way that we've grown as a programme and how the players have grown as well," Amor said.
"Since the Commonwealth Games, we have won medals at every tournament bar one.
"And alongside that, we've got some really exciting young talent coming into the squad, so that is really encouraging as we look ahead to next season.
"It's obviously disappointing to have missed out on that top spot, but we made a few too many errors and turned the ball over too many times against a very good New Zealand team.
"I am delighted with the way that the guys performed right the way through the tournament. They came through some really close games and played some outstanding rugby."
England produced their best performance in the semi-finals, delivering a spectacular display to knock out reigning world series champions South Africa 29-7.
Form in the season-long world series suggested England might have had their work cut out to progress beyond the quarter-finals.
But after edging past Samoa in the round of 16, then winning a thriller against the United States, they moved up a gear.
And England also responded well to the tournament's straight knockout format, which meant no second chances that would have been offered by a pool-stage system.
Amor added: "The format makes it high-pressured with lots of drama, which is great for all those fans watching.
"As a result of that you have to approach the competition in a different way, and I am really pleased with the way that the guys adapted to this new knockout competition.
"Playing at the venue (AT&T Park) was brilliant. The atmosphere in the stadium was unbelievable right the way through the tournament."