South Africa win men’s rugby sevens Commonwealth gold with victory over Fiji


South Africa swept aside double Olympic champions Fiji to win men’s rugby sevens gold as Australia clinched the women’s Commonwealth Games title for the first time here.

Muller du Plessis helped himself to a brace of tries while Jc Pretorious, Shaun Williams and Mfundo Ndhlovu crossed the whitewash in a crushing 31-7 victory over Fiji at a packed Coventry Stadium.

Fiji also came unstuck in the women’s final as a Faith Nathan double and scores from Madison Ashby and Maddison Levi saw Australia triumph 22-12.

New Zealand were defending both the men’s and women’s titles but had to settle for bronze medals after beating Australia 26-12 and Canada 19-12 respectively on an enthralling day of rugby sevens action in Coventry.

Fiji came from 14-0 down to beat five-time winners New Zealand 19-14 in extra-time but they were unable to repeat those semi-final heroics against a superb South African team.

After Shaun Williams went agonisingly close to going over with Fiji pinged for holding on and not rolling away, Selvyn Davids exploited acres of space out wide with a fine cross-field kick that found du Plessis who eased over.

Williams converted du Plessis’ try to give South Africa a 7-0 lead.

Fiji were coming under all sorts of pressure and it was taking its toll as South Africa scored two more, with Williams providing the assist for Pretorius before going over himself.

Leading 17-0 at half-time, South Africa picked up from where they left off as Davids threw a superb long-range pass to du Plessis who grabbed his second.

Williams added the extras to pull 24-0 clear.

Fiji responded with a try from their captain as Waisea Nacuqu touched down.

He landed the conversion to cut the deficit to 24-7, but this was South Africa’s day as Ndhlovu fended off a defender to power over for the fifth and final try.

Dewald Human made the conversion to wrap up a stunning performance from South Africa who were crowned Commonwealth Games champions for the second time after winning at Glasgow 2014.

The women’s final saw an equally impressive display from Australia as they put Fiji to the sword.

Nathan struck first from close range after Sariah Paki and Ashby both went close.

Australia were stretching Fiji as Nathan collected in space before cutting inside Sesenieli Donu to score.

Sharni Williams missed another attempt at the sticks as Australia led 10-0 with the Fijians camped in their own half.

Ashby was pulling the strings in the opening period and she got on the scoresheet when latching onto Nathan’s pass and storming through.

This time, Williams dispatched the conversion to put Australia 17-0 in front at half-time.

Fiji needed to score first at the start of the second period to stand a chance of coming back.

But Australia landed another blow when Levi crossed in the corner to make it 22-0 after Williams broke in midfield.

Fiji refused to give in and scored next through Ana Maria Naimasi, who also added the extras to reduce their arrears to 22-7.

Some sloppy passing from Australia invited pressure in the closing three minutes, while captain Charlotte Caslick saw yellow card.

Fiji scored again with Donu going over in the dying seconds, but it was too little too late as Australia clinched gold.