The Blitzboks left Vancouver with an impressive 24-7 win over Australia to claim ninth place, but for Ngcobo it was too little too late.

“We finished the best way possible,” said Ngcobo.

“We asked the players to leave a statement and that is what they did. This was a very good win over Australia and that reflects more on our abilities.”

The Blitzboks started the tournament with a victory over New Zealand (who eventually lost in the final to Argentina), but then lost twice in a row to not only finished last in the pool, but also missed the quarter-finals.

“We need to be more consistent, that is a fact – we cannot arrive at games not mentally ready,” said Ngcobo.

“The positive finish in our last two games, beating Canada and Australia, showed what can be done. We know we can put any team away; we have the individuals and the culture to put it together but we are not consistent in doing that.”

According to the Blitzbok coach, their focus will shift for the USA leg: “The mental side of the game is currently the issue, and we will address that going forward.”

The Blitzboks was drawn in Pool A next weekend when the HSBC SVNS Los Angeles takes place from Friday to Sunday. They will again face Ireland, who pipped them in Vancouver, and will also be up against series leaders and Canada champions, Argentina, as well as Spain in their other pool matches.

Their worst finish of the seasons resulted in the Blitzboks dropping to sixth place on the overall standing after four tournaments. The current top eight sides, who will retain core status for next year's series are:

  1. Argentina – 78 points
  2. Ireland – 54 points
  3. Fiji – 54 points
  4. New Zealand – 50 points
  5. Australia – 47 points
  6. South Africa – 46 points
  7. France – 36 points
  8. USA – 30 points