England overturned a 14-point deficit to beat the Blitzboks 21-14 in the bronze-medal match at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday, while New Zealand won gold. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
Judging by this lacklustre performance, particularly in the second half, the Blitzboks were still reeling from their semi-final defeat to Fiji. Bronze wasn’t the medal they had wanted coming into day two of the tournament and it showed against England.
Unlike the tension-filled semi-final, it was noticeable that South Africa played more freely against the English and that was their undoing.
Branco du Preez opened the scoring after a brilliant pick-up off the ground. Ruhan Nel was in next following a barnstorming run in midfield that drew cheers from the crowd.
Up 14-0 at the break, you’d expect the Blitzboks to drive home such an advantage in the second half. But they capitulated under pressure.
A brace from Phil Burgess after the restart got England level before Tom Mitchell cantered down the blind side to score the winning try.
In the gold-medal match, New Zealand scored two converted first-half tries to beat Fiji 14-0.
Etene Nanai-Seturo dotted down after 71 seconds following some good footwork from Etene Nanai-Seturo, while Regan Ware beat four defenders to score on the four-minute mark.
Fiji were reduced to six men two minutes before the break when Sevuloni Mocenecagi was yellow-carded for a high, no-arms tackle on New Zealand's Sam Dickson. It could easily have been red.
New Zealand's defence kept Fiji out early in the second half and the Kiwis then dominated possession for the last three minutes of the match.
It is the fifth time New Zealand have won gold at the Commonwealth Games in six tournaments.
Photo: Kolbe/Getty Images
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