The Blitzboks lost to Australia in the fifth-place semi-final on Sunday in a desperately close 21-19 defeat and had that result gone the other way, he would have had better memories of the Toulouse event, Ngcobo said.

The results in Toulouse saw Argentina and Fiji confirm their Olympic Games qualification after New Zealand did so in Singapore, leaving the fourth qualifier to be confirmed in London next weekend.

Australia are currently in the pound seats on 125 World Series points, leaving the Blitzboks, on 116 points, with a very small chance to overhaul the Aussies.

“I felt at times we did not quite get the rewards,” said Ngcobo.

“We had two weeks of good preparation in Stellenbosch and the five players coming back into the team integrated well. That showed in this tournament, as the guys came back into those high profile matches and at times did well.

“There was frustration, especially in that first game on the opening day, when we did not play well at all, but day two started well, before we disappointed ourselves against Argentina.

“Against Australia the bounce of the ball and a call or two did not favour us either and that made the difference.”

Ngcobo said the team’s improvement during the tournament showed that some things were done well. After losing their opening pool game against France, the Blitzboks hit back with great wins over Fiji and the USA to book their spot in the quarter-finals, where they lost to eventual Toulouse runners up Argentina.

“The season is not over for us, so there is still an opportunity to improve, and we are keen to grab it,” said Ngcobo.

The Springbok Sevens crashed out of the HSBC France Sevens with a gut-wrenching 21-19 defeat to Australia.

The South Africans started well against the Aussies, with Mfundo Ndhlovu darting through in the second minute for a 5-0 lead. Australia pulled one back three minutes later with their converted try giving them a 7-5 lead. A try on the buzzer, by Shaun Williams, converted by Ronald Brown, pushed the Blitzboks into a 12-7 lead at the break.

Australia scored from the second half restart and extended their 14-12 lead to 21-12 with two minutes to play when Maurice Longbottom went over.

James Murphy pulled one back and Justin Geduld's conversion made it a two-point game. The Blitzboks had one final chance to attack, but they were pinged for holding on in a tackle, giving the Aussies the opportunity to close out the game.


South Africa 19 (12) - Tries: Mfundo Ndhlovu, Shaun Williams, James Murphy. Conversions: Ronald Brown, Justin Geduld.

Australia 21 (7) - Tries: Henry Paterson, Tim Clements, Maurice Longbottom. Conversions: Longbottom (2), Dietrich Roache.

World Series standings:
1 New Zealand – 186 points
2 Argentina – 159
3 France – 139
4 Fiji – 138
5 Australia – 125
6 Samoa – 116
7 South Africa – 116
8 Ireland – 104
9 USA – 95
10 Great Britain – 94