Commonwealth Games: South Africa inflict first defeat on New Zealand to claim gold at Ibrox
Last Updated: 28/07/14 12:48pm
New Zealand's sevens dominance was ended on Sunday as South Africa ended their 30-match unbeaten run to claim gold at the Commonwealth Games with a 17-12 victory in Glasgow.
A capacity crowd at Ibrox witnessed an enthralling final as New Zealand - winners of every Commonwealth gold since the sport’s debut in 1998 - were dethroned by an impressive Blitzbokke side.
Seabelo Senata stole the show, scoring his 10th and 11th tries of the Games to help South Africa better their bronze medal from Delhi four years ago and move to the podium summit.
Cecil Afrika's score, converted by Branco du Preez, proved to be the decisive blow in the end as the Springboks claimed their first Commonwealth title and the playmaker is hoping to extend that success when sevens rugby makes an Olympic debut in Rio in 2016.
"This feeling is the greatest," Afrika said. "We as South Africans are so proud. Rugby is our national sport, we always strive to be the best in the world.
"The Commonwealth Games is a one-off tournament. As a squad we want to take this forward to the Rio Olympics. I know we have made the people back home proud."
New Zealand, whose winning sequence of Commonwealth matches stretched back to a Jonah Lomu-inspired gold in the inaugural tournament in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, scored two tries through Sherwin Stowers and Joe Webber, Gillies Kaka nailing one conversion.
After a world-record 171,000 raucous fans packed into Ibrox for two fine days of action, the crucial medal matches have provided more thrilling entertainment, two years before sevens takes its place at the Olympic Games in Rio.
In the bronze medal match Australia, silver medalists four years ago, beat Samoa 24-0 thanks to two more tries for the exciting Greg Jeloudev in what was new coach Geraint John's first tournament in charge having made the switch from Canada last month.
Defending Commonwealth Games champions New Zealand booked their place in the gold medal final after a 19-7 win over Tasman neighbours Australia with Scott Curry scoring two decisive second half tries while Cornal Hendricks scored twice to give the Blitzboks a 35-7 win against Samoa in their semi-final.
England snatch Plate
In the second-tier Plate, contested by the losing medal quarter-finalists, England, without injured skipper Tom Mitchell, beat Wales 17-15 with stand-in captain Phil Burgess scoring the winning try after the buzzer had sounded.
Disappointed to finish with two losses on day one, Canada recorded victory in the Bowl final with a 50-7 win against the Cook Islands including a hat-trick from Sean White.
In the Shield, contested by the losing Bowl quarter finalists, Sri Lanka proved too good in the final, beating Trinidad & Tobago 43-7 with captain Fazil Marija scoring 16 of their points.