Two fabled sporting rivals will battle right to the end of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, with New Zealand and South Africa once again in a tight race on the medal table, and the men’s sevens competition set to decide the final overall standings.
Going into Sunday’s final day, South Africa sit in fifth place on the medal tally, (13 gold, 11 silver, 13 bronze), with New Zealand sixth (12 gold, 16 silver, 14 bronze).
South Africa have competed at 12 Commonwealth Games, and have finished ahead of New Zealand on eight of those occasions – often by very narrow margins. But the Kiwis have a fine opportunity to take the bragging rights from them on the last day, with three gold medal opportunities, and a potentially massive showdown in the very last event of the competition on the Gold Coast – the men’s sevens final – which is South Africa’s sole hope of any more gold.
MARK KOLBE/GETTY IMAGES
The men in black will be intent on returning to gold-medal-winning ways, after being Games champions on the first four occasions, before being beaten in the final last time out by South Africa, with the BlitzBokke indeed the current World Rugby Sevens Series leaders.
* Comm Games medal table
* Kiwis in action on the final day
* Men add silver to women’s hockey gold
* Car park training brings boxing gold
* Golden hug for ‘crazy’ Nyika family
* Grant: Silver Ferns need to lift
Even with a couple of golds in the marathons, seventh-placed Wales can only draw level on golds with New Zealand, who would still have the bigger overall total. So it’s sixth or fifth for the Kiwis – a mark they usually sit around come the end of Commonwealth Games.
DAN MULLAN/GETTY IMAGES
They are on track to finish in a very similar state to how they ended the 2014 event in Glasgow, where they took 14 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze, for a total of 45 and sixth place – one gold to the better of South Africa and one gold behind India.
It’s a far better haul than what was managed in 2010 in Delhi and 2006 in Melbourne, where the Kiwis claimed just six gold at each, with finishes of 11th (equal-low with Edinburgh in 1970) and ninth on the table.
New Zealand have finished as high as third on the medal tally twice – in 1950 in Auckland and in 1962 in Perth when they collected 10 gold at each – while the country’s best finish in terms of medals, both overall (45) and gold (17) was in 1990 in Auckland, which saw a fourth-place finish.
WHAT MEDALS NZ CAN WIN ON SUNDAY:
There are bronze medals in the offing for the Tall Blacks (v Scotland at 11am [NZ time]) and the Silver Ferns (v Jamaica at 1.02pm) who take part in third/fourth playoff matches.
Then there are three gold medal prospects:
Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy team up in the final of the women’s doubles squash at 2pm, against the Indian pairing of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik.
Just prior to that the women’s and men’s sevens teams will take to the field in their respective semifinals against England. After Australia meet Canada in the first semi, the women – who were runners-up to Australia in the 2016 Olympics – are up at 1.21pm, with the men following suit at 1.43pm, before South Africa take on Fiji.
The women’s final is at 4.42pm, with the men’s decider at 5.04pm.