Tributes paid to Mandela at Rugby Sevens World Series event
By Paul Osborne
Inspired by a passionate home support, the South African side recorded a 100 per cent win streak to progress through to the quarter-finals of the HSBC World Sevens Series event.
Following a minutes silence for Nelson Mandela, of whom the Stadium is fittingly named after, the South African side secured a win over their Canadian opponents to get the ball rolling on what was to prove an emotionally charged day.
“I would love to give you an explanation but my words wouldn’t do it justice,” said captain Kyle Brown.
“It’s a real honour and a privilege to be a South African today.”
Mid-way through the day, the hosts were joined by all 15 competing nations inside the Stadium for the singing of the national anthem and a minutes silence as the rugby world honoured the memory of Mandela.
The home side then went on to record wins over Spain and Kenya to become one of only four nations to progress to the quarter final stage boasting unbeaten records.
“It’s been an emotional weekend and the guys are really feeding off the atmosphere inside the stadium today,” said Neil Powell, South Africa’s head coach.
“It is a privilege to play here this weekend.”
The South Africans will now play Portugal in the final eight following their shock 28-17 win over Wales and a 33-17 win over the United States.
In the other last eight matches in the Cup Fiji play Samoa, New Zealand face Kenya and Argentina play France.
After a competitive pool campaign, Australia, Wales and England will all contest the Bowl on day two.
Australia play Zimbabwe, Wales face Canada, England will play Scotland and Spain line up against the US.
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