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Sevens into quarters

Delhi: South Africa’s Sevens team comfortably won their three Pool B matches at the Commonwealth Games to reach the quarter-finals, to be played on Tuesday.

Wales scored in the 51st second of the game that decided the Pool B winners but from there it was one-way traffic as South Africa drew away to win 21-5. They will play Scotland in the quarter-finals and should they win that game, likely Australia in the semi-finals after Australia lost 21-19 to England to finish second in their group.

The medals will all be decided on Tuesday.

In other major interest events, South Africa’s women’s hockey team lost a tight semi-final to New Zealand, 1-0, the only goal coming midway through the second half. South Africa now need to beat England to win the bronze.

At the athletics stadium, Elizna Naude (women’s discus) and Cheyne Rahme (pole vault) both performed under par and were unable to add to the medals tally. Naude, despite improving with each of her throws, finished a disappointing seventh with a 57.61 best and ending 3.90m behind Indian winner Krishna Poonia (61.51m). Rahme was only able to clear 5.25m, good for fourth but 15cm lower than the third-placed height.

The second half of the Sevens match against Wales was forgettable as it was scoreless and dominated by the whistle. However, the result was the important thing to this game. By winning, South Africa avoided meeting New Zealand, who are aiming for their fourth successive Sevens title at a Commonwealth Games.

Playing at Delhi University, South Africa fell behind against Wales but struck back immediately and crossed the whitewash three times, through Johannes Prinsloo, Cecil Afrika and Paul Delport, with Afrika converting all three.

Paul Treu’s squad arrived in Delhi not quite sure of what to expect. “This team is a blend of experience and new faces, but we’ve prepared well in Dubai so we’ll have to see how it goes,” Treu had said.

In their first match against a Tonga side that appeared more interested into tucking into the food in the athletes village than the task on the field, South Africa romped to a 29-0 victory.

They then proved far too strong for hosts India, competing at this level for the first time, and the Sevens side converted a 33-0 half-time lead into a 59-0 victory. Ryno Benjamin applied the finishing touches to a good performance with the final try.