#Rio2016: SA men’s pair claim silver in rowing final

Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling earned Team SA its third silver with a strong finish in the last 500m.

Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling. Picture: Jean Smyth/EWN.

RIO DE JANEIRO - South Africa has won a silver medal in the men's coxless pair rowing final.

Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling earned Team SA its third silver of the Olympics with a strong finish in the last 500 metres.

New Zealand took gold in the race and Italy bronze.

BREAKING NEWS: SA men's rowing pair of @Brittain_L & @Keeling_S have won silver. @teamsa's 3rd medal of #Rio2016. JS pic.twitter.com/XPVXPMxHSm

In windy conditions, the South African pair, racing in lane 1, crowned an exceptional morning for Team SA by capturing silver.

Brittain and Keeling said they felt confident going into the race, which was won by the New Zealand team of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray who have absolutely dominated this event for over five years.

The South Africa pair's achievement comes off the back of four other crews reaching finals, with the Lagoa de Freitas in Rio looking to be a happy hunting ground for Team SA.

Fourth with 1,000 metres to go, Keeling and Brittain say they went to a dark place to fire back and win silver.

Given a chance of an outside chance of a medal, particularly with the dominance of the New Zealand pair of Bond and Murray, who haven't lost a race since 2009 - they produced a blistering second half that had the large South African contingent in the crowd roaring with delight.

It capped a fine morning there with four other boats making finals and with the form shown by the pair you wouldn't bet on this being the last time the South African flag is raised at the Lagoa de Freitas during this regatta.