Harare setback a 'very hard pill to swallow' for BlitzBoks
REACTION: The Springbok Sevens worked extremely hard to prepare for the Rugby Africa Olympic Games 2024 qualifiers – as their performances leading up to the final showed – which is why the 12-17 defeat against Kenya in the final was extremely disappointing and gut-wrenching for the squad.
That is the view of BlitzBok coach Sandile Ngcobo after his team finished second in the tournament, played at the Harare Sports Club over the weekend, with the result meaning that the former bronze medallists have not yet qualified for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
However, if given clearance from SASCOC, the BlitzBoks may get one final opportunity next year in June as 12 teams will fight it out for one spot in the Olympic repechage tournament, which will be held in Monaco.
“It was a really disappointing finish to a tournament we prepared extremely hard for,” said Ngcobo.
“To lose like this after having played some very clinical and well-executed rugby in the build-up to the final is a very hard pill to swallow.
“We always aim to make South Africa proud and to come to this Olympic qualifier and fall short is extremely disappointing. We need to become better at converting the hard work we put in to get the results that should come with it.
“We will now begin preparations for the SVNS Series that starts in December, then ready ourselves for the repechage where we have a last chance to qualify to go to Paris, if we are granted the opportunity and can get the job done.”
Their record at the Olympics should aid that decision, Ngcobo feels.
“We have a good record at the Olympics, so this hurt even more knowing that we are medal contenders, but sadly we did not show that in that final game,” he said.
“This team can be gold medal contenders, we showed that at the Commonwealth Games last year, but we just could not put it together on Sunday when it mattered most and that was very disappointing.”
The team will return to South Africa on Monday.