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England’s World Cup final defeat against South Africa was desperately disappointing.
The way England have played at this World Cup and the depth of players they have as a group, this was absolutely the right squad to challenge for the trophy.
England fans will all be feeling totally dejected but nowhere near as upset as the players and management will be.
They were so far off winning that game. There is a weird part of me that, even though I feel totally dejected, does not feel quite as bad as if South Africa had nicked it at the death with a last-minute penalty or drop-goal. England just simply were not good enough.
I never felt for one minute that England were in a position to score points then run away with it. It was going to be a battle to the death and unfortunately the Springboks seemed to be more capable of winning a World Cup final.
England have learned a big lesson. Those players are going to remember that for the rest of their lives and hopefully store it up to say they are never going to feel like that again, never going to make those mistakes under that sort of pressure again and they will come back as better players.
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England head coach Eddie Jones has had a blinding tournament and, tactically, has been great throughout.
But on this occasion South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus was awesome. Wherever England attacked, the Springboks had defence.
They were very disciplined. They were tactically spot on. They played in the right areas. They had the balance of their kicking game opposed to when it was on to run – they chose the right time and made good decisions.
We have been praising Jones and waxing lyrical about how perfect England’s b
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