Cape Town — Blitzboks coach Neil Powell sent his players to school in Paris this week‚ just as he did in Singapore earlier in the season by making them handle the analysis sessions.

Instead of drumming information into the players‚ he asked them to study their own strengths and weaknesses and give feedback to the group. It worked well in Singapore, with the Blitzboks winning the tournament.

With the addition of three players to the squad following last week’s tournament in London — where SA finished seventh — it was a way to integrate the newcomers. Cecil Afrika‚ Dewald Human and Mfundo Ndhlovu replaced the injured Stedman Gans‚ Kurt-Lee Arendse and Selvyn Davids.

This weekend is the season finale in Paris, and the Blitzboks have secured fourth place‚ which comes with automatic qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Now it is about finishing on a high.

The analysis “was part of the mental side of our preparation and added to the training sessions we had on the field”, said captain Siviwe Soyizwapi. “The three new guys came in nice and early‚ so we trained well with little disruptions.

“We would like to finish the season well. It was an up and down season for us. We had a lot of new players coming in‚ which impacted on our consistency but crucially we managed to achieve our goal of a top-four finish.”

Their epic win over England in the 2018 final in Paris is still seen as one of the great performances of the World Series and nothing would please Soyizwapi more if they can finish well again. “We want to look back at our last tournament of the season as one we can proud of. We want to go out and do it for each other one more time‚” he said.

The Blitzboks face Australia‚ Wales and Kenya in pool B of the tournament on Saturday.