The Springboks Sevens’ consistency over the last two weekends mean they are still at the top of the World Series standings after three tournaments, sharing first position with Samoa, who won the title in a tense final as the heavens opened up over the Mother City.
The top four teams at the end of the season will gain automatic qualification to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
“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.”
South Africa had a slow start in the series opener in Hong Kong a month ago but bounced back by winning in Dubai last weekend, and the Blitzboks maintained some consistency with a fourth-place finish at DHL Stadium.
“We have really showed nice progress from that first tournament in Hong Kong until here and that is where we want to be as squad,” said Ngcobo.
“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.”
Ngcobo reflected on his tenure as new Blitzboks coach so far and he said the fight in the squad is one of the most pleasing aspects since he took over: “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.”
There was some learnings for Ngcobo in his first stint as coach at the Blitzboks’ home event in Cape Town.
“The big thing was the switch from a two-day event (in Dubai last weekend) to a three-day event and how that impacts on your squad,” he said.
“I realised that squad depth is much more important in a three-day event like Cape Town, compared to Dubai, played over two days. 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.”
Ngcobo also said the home crowd deserves special praise: “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. It was still a special and memorable one for me as a first-time coach here.”
The 71,457 people that went through the gates of DHL Stadium on the weekend were treated to a rugby-fest never seen before in the Mother City as the 28 teams in action scored a new HSBC Cape Town Sevens record of 434 tries, up from the 2019 mark of 385 five-pointers.
New Zealand won the women's competition with a comprehensive 31-14 victory over Australia in the final as the rain came down over Cape Town, and Samoa won their first title of the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series when they beat New Zealand by 12-7 in the final.
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings after three tournaments:
47 points: South Africa and Samoa
44: New Zealand and USA
20: Great Britain and Uruguay