Cape Town - When the Blitzbokke jetted off to Glasgow at the beginning of May with two rounds of the Sevens World Series remaining, their fate was very much in their own hands.
Leading Fiji by a slim four points at the top of the table, coach Neil Powell’s charges were on the verge of securing their second ever World Series crown.
But quarter-final losses to Fiji in both Glasgow and London ensured that the South Africans would finish 10 points adrift of the South Pacific islanders in second.
The squad arrived back in Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon, and both Powell and captain Kyle Brown were devastated by the events of the last two tournaments.
“We’re still hurting from the last two weekends,” said Powell.
“In the overall review I think that we had a good season. The fact that we had three players in the dream team and two nominations for player of the year shows that we actually had a good year.”
Speaking of his side’s loss to eventual winners the USA in the pools stages, Powell conceded that the Blitzbokke were “shocked”.
“A yellow card cost us that game,” Powell said.
“It is always going to be a game changer, especially with the speed that they’ve got in that USA team. If you’re going to defend with six players you’re always going to be in trouble.”
Brown, meanwhile, was a visibly disappointed figure at Cape Town International airport.
“I got back now and spoke to my wife and one of the first things I said to her was that the tour feels incredibly long when you don’t play as well as you can,” he said.
“We definitely let go of a couple of opportunities these last two weekends, and it’s definitely going to leave a little bit of scar. Somewhere in my heart, in my career, I know that I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time to come.”