YOKOHAMA, Japan, Nov 2 – England captain Owen Farrell blamed a sluggish start as his team crashed to a 20-point defeat to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday.
“We didn’t start it well. Probably had a disappointing first half,” said Farrell, who looked close to tears after the 32-12 loss.
He added that the team had shown good fight in the second half and was “massively proud” to lead England to the World Cup final.
“But credit to South Africa. They were very good today,” said Farrell, who kicked all 12 of England’s points.
Coach Eddie Jones said England, who stunned defending champions New Zealand a week ago, were unable to make headway against heavyweight South Africa.
“We just struggled to get in the game. The effort of the players was outstanding but we just struggled to get on the front foot today,” said the Australian.
South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard did the damage with six penalty kicks before wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe punished England with two late tries.
“I can’t fault the preparation of the players. They’ve worked hard the entire World Cup and I think they played with a lot of pride and passion,” said Jones.
“We just weren’t good enough today and congratulations to South Africa for an outstanding performance.”