Neil Powell (Getty Images)
Rio de Janeiro - Coach Neil Powell believes his side deserved more than a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.
The Blitzboks finished third on Thursday in the first ever Sevens tournament to be played at the Games, and while they were celebrating on the podium at the end of it all with bronze medals around their necks, Powell knew deep down that there was disappointment.
"I'm happy that we came out of that last game with at least something, but my heart is aching for the boys," said Powell.
"I think they deserved more than a bronze medal but unfortunately it wasn't to be.
"But life is not always a fairy-tail and sometimes it doesn't go the way you think it must go or you want it to go."
The Blitzboks lost twice at the tournament - once to Australia in the pool stages and then to Great Britain in the semi-finals - but Powell could not fault the performance of his players.
"I'm happy with the guys and their performance. We always evaluate the guys on the effort they put in and I think it was a big effort from them over the last three days," he said.
The Blitzboks showed their class in the bronze medal match, beating the tournament's surprise package Japan 54-14.
"It's probably the first game of the whole tournament that they played with freedom and they played what was in front of them," said Powell.
"We try to create an environment for them where they can get out their boxes and throw their passes around."
The Blitzboks had been one of the pre-tournament favourites and had some experience on this kind of stage having won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
But the Olympics, said Powell, was a different story.
"I felt a bit more pressure," he said.
"The competition is a lot more fierce as well. Here every single game was a tough game."
Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...