The Blitzboks started the tournament in fifth position on the overall HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series log – with the top four sides automatically gaining entry into the 2024 Games in Paris – but slipped backwards after this weekend, conceding log positions and points to Australia and Samoa, now fifth and sixth respectively.

Blitzbok coach Sandile Ngcobo said the good work last week was nullified by another cruel twist of fate in losing players in play-making positions.

“We really grew last week and with some marginal calls going against us, as well as the bounce of the ball, things could have gone different, as all our defeats were close ones,” said Ngcobo.

“Coming to Singapore, we hoped to see that momentum coming into our play and the good things being done better. Sadly, that was not the case.”

Ngcobo made no excuses, but the cruel run of injuries that is following the squad in the World Series has not abated, this time seeing the team limping out of the tournament with nine fit players.

“Again, we lost our decision makers and playmakers in the run in and it does make it really tough to bounce back from that every time,” he said.

“We could just not recover from this in Singapore and the results have shown that. It was a disappointing tournament in many ways. We did our best to stay in the fight, which was a positive, but the results did not come our way.”

New Zealand, who won the tournament, is the only side that already qualified for the Olympic Games, while France, as hosts, will be part of the showpiece as well.

This leaves Argentina and Fiji in a strong position with only the tournaments in Toulouse and London left, with Australia, Samoa and South Africa needing outstanding performances in both to make it into the final four.

“We are still in that race – it’s becoming tighter and tighter – but we can still do it and that is what will drive us for the last two tournaments,” said Ngcobo.

“We will have some of our key personnel and some speed back into the squad by then, so we are still determined to get the rewards of our hard work this season.”

In their first game on Sunday, the Blitzboks beat Ireland, but then fell to Spain in the knock-out matches for minor placings. New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji and Samoa made the semi-finals.

The squad suffered a number of injuries at the National Stadium, finishing the tournament with nine players. They arrive back in Cape Town on Tuesday morning.

World Series standings:

  1. New Zealand 164 points (qualified)
  2. Argentina 140
  3. Fiji 130
  4. France 122 (qualified)
  5. Australia  112
  6. Samoa 111
  7. South Africa 106
  8. USA 94
  9. Ireland 92
  10. Great Britain 84

The pools for the HSBC France Sevens in Toulouse, to be played from 12-14 May, were also announced in Singapore. The Blitzboks are in Pool C. The pools are:

A: New Zealand, Uruguay, Kenya, Canada
B: Argentina, Great Britain, Spain, Germany
C: Fiji, France, South Africa, USA
D: Samoa, Australia, Japan, Ireland