South Africa’s Blitzbokke have won the rugby sevens gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Sunday after a 17-12 victory against New Zealand at Ibrox Stadium. South Africa coach Neil Powell had an early injury concern when captain Kyle Brown went down awkwardly from a DJ Forbes tackle two minutes and two seconds into the match. Brown was forced off the field with a shoulder injury and was replaced.
New Zealand eventually penetrated when Ben Lam drew in the defence and offloaded to Forbes who found Sherwin Stowers who went over. The All Black Sevens were in trouble when Bryce Heem kicked the ball away and just like in the semi-final, the Blitzbokke benefitted from a numerical advantage. South Africa’s seven soon capitalised against New Zealand’s six when Seabelo Senatla went over under the posts on the stroke of half-time to make it 7-7 at the break.
Senatla outsprinted the Kiwi defence early in the second half down the blindside and the South Africans were in front for the first time, 12-7. The gold medal was within sight when Cecil Afrika scored South Africa’s third try with just over four minutes left on the clock. From a turnover , Afrika sprinted some 60 metres to go over in the corner and it was 17-7.
However the New Zealanders were never going to go down without a fight. With two minutes still to play, Joe Webber would go over to reignite the contest. At 17-12, it was anyone’s rugby match. The victory for Powell’s team represents the first time in the history of Commonwealth Games rugby, that New Zealand have not won the gold medal.
Fittingly, their traditional rivals South Africa, are the new Commonwealth kings of rugby.