Better execution needed, says Blitzboks coach after Hamilton disappointment

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Sandile Ngcobo. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)
Sandile Ngcobo. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)

After finishing a disappointing seventh at the Hamilton Sevens on Sunday, the Blitzboks find themselves in fourth place in the World Rugby Sevens Series standings after four rounds 

Argentina were crowned champions in Hamilton after they beat home favourites New Zealand 14-12 in the final. 

The Blitzboks will need to up their game as the top four teams in the standings will automatically qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games when the series ends later this year. 

South Africa started the tournament well but faded on Sunday, as they lost 22-17 to France and then 21-14 to Ireland, with coach Sandile Ngcobo noting their defence wasn't good enough.  

"We have a team motto and culture, and one of those are at least 80% tackle completion, something we did not do today," said Ngcobo. 

"I think we were grabbing arms and not trying to get our shoulders on bodies, which resulted in some missed tackles, and we paid the price. We were not quite there today. 

"When we lost the battle on the floor and contested poorly at the kick-offs, we placed ourselves under a lot of pressure. Those two areas are crucial in sevens, and we did not do well in those two areas." 

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Possession was another aspect that hampered their progress, but Ngcobo was more concerned about not using the ball when opportunities were created. 

"We are a fast team, and when we play against teams who are physically bigger than us, it is crucial that we use that advantage," he said. 

"There is a plan for every opponent, but for that to work, one needs to execute when you have the opportunity. That did not happen today." 

Ngcobo said they would regroup and be ready to go again for the Sydney Sevens next weekend.  

"It is going to be a short turnaround – we are playing on Friday already, so we will have three days to analyse and adjust where needed and then hit Sydney with a fresh effort. 

"I saw enough positives here over the weekend to travel to Australia with confidence, and I thought Jaiden Baron did well on debut. So although we are disappointed about the effort on Sunday, there is much anticipation to go again next weekend." 

 World Series standings after four tournaments: 

1 New Zealand - 63 points 

2 USA - 61 

3 Argentina - 59 

4 South Africa - 57 

5 Samoa - 55 

6 France - 53 

7 Australia - 52 

8 Fiji - 50 

9 Ireland - 46 

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