Blitzboks must be mentally sharp at LA Sevens, says Ngcobo

Blitzbok skipper Selvyn Davids (front left) and the rest of the captains pose with the Los Angeles Sevens trophy. Photo: World Rugby

Blitzbok skipper Selvyn Davids (front left) and the rest of the captains pose with the Los Angeles Sevens trophy. Photo: World Rugby

Published Mar 1, 2024


Hope springs eternal for the beleaguered Blitzboks as they travel south from Vancouver to Los Angeles for the fifth tournament of the 2024 World Sevens Series this weekend.

The South Africans stuttered to a ninth-place finish in Canada, but coach Sandile Ngcobo believes there is reason for optimism.

Ngcobo said they are embracing the tough challenge of Pool A fixtures this weekend against series leaders Argentina, Ireland and Spain.

“We finished strongly in Vancouver with good wins over Canada and Australia, and we want that momentum to carry us into the match against Ireland on Friday night,” Ngcobo said yesterday.

“We want that use the positive energy in our training session today, and for the players to remain on their toes.”

Despite losing 22-10 to Ireland in Vancouver last weekend, the Blitzbok coach believes that result can be reversed.

“Their restarts and play from there was very good, so we need to sharpen up in that area and look after our ball better. We have more attacking threats than they have, so when we have the ball, we need to use that.”

The Blitzboks won the tournament in Dubai in the season’s opener by outplaying Argentina in the final, but since then, the South Americans have gone from strength to strength, winning the tournaments in Cape Town, Perth and Vancouver.

In their last match against the Blitzboks, in Perth, Argentina came out on top, but Ngcobo is excited for the rematch tomorrow evening (SA time).

“We love playing Argentina. They are a class outfit at the moment, but so are we,” he said.

“The last time we played them in Perth, they actually got the better of us when we gave our ball away, so we lost against ourselves in that one.”

Ngcobo believes the match against Spain will be a mental battle for captain Selvyn Davids’ Blitzbok team.

“From a mental point of view, the players need to understand that all matches will be very competitive – you need to be as sharp when you play Spain as you would when playing New Zealand, Argentina or Ireland,” he said.

“We have seen what we can do when we play well, but also what happens when we are inconsistent in our performances and don’t get the detail right.

“Our focus is topping the pool. We are good enough to win tournaments, I honestly believe that.

“Bar one or two injured players back home, this is our best team, and they are capable of winning tournaments. We just need to be mentally sharp for six games over three days, and the results will be the reward.”

Blitzboks Fixtures (SA Times)

Saturday – 5.38am: Ireland, 8.36pm: Argentina

Sunday – 12.54am: Spain