South Africa stun Kiwis to take gold
July 27, 2014
South Africa celebrate with their gold medals © Getty Images
South Africa ended a remarkable unbeaten run stretching back to 1998 to defeat New Zealand 17-12 and win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
New Zealand, who had won gold at all four Sevens tournaments at the games since the sport was introduced, were favourites but South Africa, who trailed to an early try, levelled on the stroke of half-time through Seabelo Senatla, and a second try for him soon after the break put them 12-7 up.
The decibel level rose with three minutes left when Cecil Afrika broke clear to put South Africa ten points clear, but within a minute a breakaway from deep in their own 22 put the All Blacks back to within a score.
Australia took the bronze medal after an easy 24-0 victory over Samoa.
Hopes of a British medal ended in the quarter-final stage as the three home nations all lost in front a 45,000-strong crowd.
Scotland were never in the hunt as they went down 35-12 to South Africa, three early tries settling the tie. "We're massively disappointed," coach Stevie Gemmell said. "We made far too many errors against a quality team."
Wales, who wobbled against Samoa in their final group match on Saturday, appeared to have regained their composure as they led Australia 19-7 at the break, but a last-gasp conversion from Cam Clark gave the Wallabies a 21-19 victory.
England also let a lead slip after Marcus Watson had gone over. James Rodwell was penalised for his late challenge on Samoa Toloa as he grounded Samoa's first score in first-half stoppage time. He was sin-binned and Samoa allowed one last attack before the break. They made the most of it as Toloa ran in another score, while Lio Lolo added a third try early in the second half. England went down 15-14.
Rodwell was unimpressed with the card. "It was just the ref's interpretation," he said. "Their player was taking his time to put the ball down and I made a challenge on him. The ref said I took him after the whistle had gone.
Ben Lam scored a brace of tries for New Zealand against Kenya as they eased to a 19-7 win. They beat Australia by the same score in the semi-finals while South Africa had few problems in a 35-7 defeat of Samoa.
England gained some small consolation by winning the Plate final, beating Wales 17-15.
Lio Lolo of Samoa scores against England in the quarter-finals © Getty Images
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