Coach Neil Powell is disappointed the Blitzboks veered off script and consequently slumped to three successive losses at the Singapore Sevens.
“Those were very disappointing and it is tough to digest,” the SA Sevens coach said of three consecutive defeats to USA, Argentina and the Fijians, who beat rivals New Zealand 28-17 in the final. Australia finished third after edging the ever-improving Ireland 21-19.
The Blitzboks went to Singapore on the back of four successive tournament wins but failed to make a 12th consecutive semi-final on Sunday, and the reasons for their failures were straight-forward for Powell.
“We played too much as individuals and too little as a team,” he said. “Our strength lies in our ability to play as a unit and follow our principles and protocols, and we did not see enough of that this weekend.”
Powell also felt his side conceded too many easy tries: “In the game against Fiji, we were in control on the field, but the scoreboard showed different. And we conceded a soft try against them when they scored from a kick-off we blundered.
“This was a good wake-up call for us as the Rugby World Cup Sevens comes closer. We cannot think that we just have to pitch up to win. We will have to rectify that.”
The Blitzboks’ discipline in Singapore was also questionable, especially on Sunday, and the SA team copped two yellow cards in their plate semi-final loss to Argentina.
“We will have to sit down and analyse why that happened. The number of penalties conceded were too many, especially in our last two games, and we need to improve in that area,” Powell said.
Blitzbok skipper Siviwe Soyizwapi added: “We did not perform as a team. We did not keep to our standards or hold ourselves accountable out there. This is one that we will have to take on the chin.
“We only have ourselves to blame for this. It is frustrating not knowing why we underperformed, but we will have to have a hard look at ourselves. We never recovered from that first defeat, so we need to get ourselves mentally in order and bounce back next weekend.”
The squad started Sunday without hat-trick hero Sakoyisa Makata and debutant Lubabalo Dobela, who picked up injuries, and a full medical assessment of the squad will be done before heading to Vancouver for the Canadian leg of the World Sevens Series.
The margins of this beautiful game…. pic.twitter.com/iC2QGg1DUD
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) April 10, 2022
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 10, 2022