Yokohama. England boss Eddie Jones has hit out at “negativity” over his side’s performance after they were trounced 32-12 by South Africa in the World Cup final.
The Australian stood by his players after Saturday’s stinging loss in Yokohama, where England looked a shadow of the team that had stunned defending champions New Zealand 19-7 a week earlier.
“We were beaten by a better team, but I’m so proud of the players,” he insisted after finishing as the losing coach for the second time in a World Cup final.
“I’m disappointed there’s such a negative attitude about our performance,” bristled Jones, noting that he had taken a team that crashed out in the pool stage four years ago to the brink of a first world title in 16 years.
“We weren’t good enough today; sorry: I apologise! We’ve just got beaten in the final and there’s all this negativity... I find it incredible.”
Jones - Wallabies coach when Jonny Wilkinson’s extra-time drop goal brought England rugby’s holy grail in 2003 - struggled to explain why his team had been destroyed in the scrum and at the breakdown, as Handre Pollard kicked six penalties before tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe completed the rout.
“If I knew, I’d be able to fix it,” he snapped after England lost in a World Cup final for the third time following heartbreak in 1991 and 2007, when they were also beaten 15-6 by South Africa and Jones had a consulting role with the Springboks.
“They won a significant area of the game, which was the scrum, and that trickled down to the rest of the game,” added Jones, who masterminded Japan’s jaw-dropping upset of South Africa at the 2015 World Cup. (AFP)