Ngcobo pleased despite Blitzboks' 4th-place Cape Town finish: 'We have grown as a team'

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Despite the Blitzboks crashing out of the Cape Town Sevens semi-finals, coach Sandile Ngcobo was satisfied with their placement as they remain on top the World Rugby Sevens Series standings.

The Springbok Sevens side lost the Bronze final 22-14 to the USA following their semi-final loss to eventual champions Samoa.

RECAP | Cape Town Sevens: Deflated Blitzboks go down to USA in Bronze final

South Africa now share top of the World Series standings after three tournaments, sharing first position with Samoa, who won the title in a tense final against New Zealand as the heavens opened up over the Mother City.

"We are happy with where we are, as this is where we want to be," said Ngcobo.

"We decided at the beginning of the season that we want to finish in the top four and get that Olympic qualification in the bag, so for us to be in this position is a good reward for the work done so far by this group. 

"Obviously, a lot of work still needs to be done, as we are at around 70 percent of our full potential, so to be in this position already means there are good things done.

"We now have to get back to the training field, assess what we did well and what not, and then fix that. For me, the biggest issue was not converting opportunities we created."

The top four teams at the end of the season will gain automatic qualification to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

There was some learnings for Ngcobo in his first stint as coach at the Blitzboks' home event in Cape Town.

Ngcobo, who finished his third tournament as Blitzboks coach, believes there needs to be more depth on the bench, but praised his fighting and growing team.

"I realised that squad depth is much more important in a three-day event like Cape Town, compared to Dubai, played over two days," said Ngcobo.

"We perhaps did not quite have the depth we needed on our bench this weekend, so that is something I will take on board going forward.

"We need fight and execution to really pin things down and find that perfect game. We are moving towards that, and I can only compliment everyone that is striving towards that goal.

"We have grown as a team and a unit, and I am really pleased about that."

READ | Blitzboks stalwart heartbroken after agonising Samoa defeat: 'This will really hurt'

According to organisers, 71 457 people went through the gates of Cape Town Stadium on the weekend as the 28 teams in action scored a new Cape Town Sevens record of 434 tries, up from the 2019 mark of 385 five-pointers.

Ngcobo hailed the home crowd support, stating that they deserve "special praise" by turning up in unpredictable Cape Town weather.

"They really came out and supported us and that was fantastic and something to experience. The crowd support, having our friends and families around, all made it a special weekend, although we could not give them the result they wanted," he said.

"It was still a special and memorable one for me as a first-time coach here."

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