Bad day at the office, but Blitzboks believe they’re still on track

The Blitzboks' Impi Visser is tackled by Fehi Fineanganofo of New Zealand on day two of the HSBC SVNS Cape Town at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.
The Blitzboks' Impi Visser is tackled by Fehi Fineanganofo of New Zealand on day two of the HSBC SVNS Cape Town at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.
Image: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

The Blitzboks are a team that are best when they have ball in hand, and that showed a week ago when they triumphed in Dubai, but disappointingly for Springbok Sevens supporters they could not do the same at home in Cape Town and paid the price.

That was the blunt assessment of Blitzbok head coach Sandile Ngcobo after his side lost their fifth-place playoff to New Zealand 31-7 and finished a disappointing second day at the HSBC SVNS Cape Town with two defeats. South Africa lost 28-0 against Australia in the quarterfinals.

“Possession was key, and we simply did not look after ours well enough,” Ngcobo said.

“We were attacked at the breakdown and we need to muscle up in that area as we lost too many balls there.”

Despite the results in Cape Town, Ngcobo believes the overall assessment of his team over the first two tournaments of the sevens series is positive.

“We showed we can put any team away over the past two weeks and that was something we tried to work towards in our preseason. Yes, today was not a great day, but we will have a good look at why and then make the necessary adaptations.”

On the Blitzboks’ defeats to Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand in Cape Town, Ngcobo pointed to the competitive nature of the new format of SVNS.

“It is very competitive and every match counts. We saw again this weekend how teams who were off the pace last week came good here and vice versa.

“Canada, for example, who finished 12th, showed they can beat anyone. This is going to be a very tough series to win.”

Ngcobo said his team will take a short break and return to camp early in January to start preparations for the next event in Perth.

“We will have a look at who is returning from injury and what the individual performances in Dubai and Cape Town contributed or not to the way we played.

“We did not suffer any serious injuries over the past two weekends and that bodes well to start with a strong squad next year.”

Australia claimed a first-ever Cape Town title, and their second SVNS 2024 victory in a row, with a gutsy 29-26 win over France in an epic women’s final to cue ecstatic celebrations.

The men’s final was a more one-sided affair as Argentina produced a dominant display to overcome Australia 45-12 to secure their first title in Cape Town.

Double Olympic champions Fiji secured the men’s bronze medal with a hard-fought 14-7 win over Ireland while reigning SVNS title-holders New Zealand had to settle for bronze with a 19-7 defeat of the US.

The results in Cape Town see Argentina lead the men’s SVNS standings on 38 points, followed by South Africa and Fiji on 30. Australia lead the women’s standings with a perfect 40 points, ahead of France and New Zealand on 34 each.

SA Rugby


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