That is the view from interim coach, Renfred Dazel, who said his team’s defeats – they lost both their matches on Sunday, by 17-12 against Spain and then by 15-5 to Japan – were disappointing, but that the growth of the squad should be welcomed.
Earlier in the weekend, they also went down to Australia and Ireland in pool play, with both of these teams progressing to the semi-finals on Sunday.
“We played in last weekend's invitational tournament in Dubai, which gave us some momentum coming here, but that does not come close to what the team experienced against the core teams on the World Series,” said Dazel.
“We had a huge step up to make and in certain areas we did, while in others we didn’t. It was a good experience for a lot of the players – a couple of them played in their first tournament of this magnitude, and others were playing in different positions – and I believe all of them will be better for it.”
Dazel praised the players for their effort, especially on day three and the matches against Spain and Japan.
“I could see their bodies were sore in the final warm-up for the Japan match, but they still fronted up and we held the lead at the break,” said Dazel.
“The second half was a bit disappointing as the fatigue kicked in, but the reality is that we were up against professional set-ups who are core teams on the World Series.”
Dazel said the bright starts in all five matches showed glimpses of what can be achieved, should the team manage to spend time together and play more matches.
“The decision-making element lacked at times, but that will only improve if the team play together more and get that match experience,” he said. “The fact that many played in different positions also tested them, but they will be better. Overall, I think it was a worthwhile exercise for everyone involved.”
Dazel had a special word of thanks to the HSBC Cape Town Sevens spectators: “They were really supportive of our team, and I would like to thank them for that. Every match we played were well supported and the crowd really backed up and that lifted the players, so on their behalf I would thank everyone for that.
“Our players need to be exposed to the big stadiums, the crowds and the interaction between them and the spectators, that is what is sevens is about.”