England head coach Eddie Jones was gracious in defeat as he commended South Africa for their outstanding performance in the World Cup final.
The Springboks bullied England for the majority of the game and powered their way to a 32-12 victory with tries courtesy of Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe while Handre Pollard chipped in with 22 points.
England had no response for South Africa’s ferocity and were especially dominated at the scrum while they showed little of the creativity they produced against the All Blacks in the semi-final.
Following the game, Jones admitted that the final scoreline was not the outcome he was expecting.
“That wasn’t the outcome we expected, mate. I don’t know about the question.
“South Africa were worthy winners, they played very well. They were too good for us on the day and unfortunately, we couldn’t get into the game. And when we had opportunities, we didn’t take them.
“It was just one of the days where South Africa were too good for us, so they’re worthy winners.”
The side were dealt a major blow in the opening minutes of the game when influential prop Kyle Sinckler was forced off after losing consciousness following an accidental knock from Maro Itoje.
Much to everyone’s relief, the 26-year-old was able to walk off the field assisted by medical staff, however, Jones does not believe that his departure had a major impact on the game.
“He’s recovering. He’s going through all the head injury protocols. It’s part of the game. You have 23 guys, you lose a guy early, you’ve got to be able to cover it. I don’t think that was a significant factor in the game.”
While this defeat will naturally sting for a long time to come, Jones is proud of the conduct and performances of his players throughout the tournament.
“We’re the second best team in the world, mate. We didn’t meet our goal, our goal was to be the best team in the world, and we’re the second best team in the world. So that’s how we should be remembered.
“The players prepared tremendously well for this World Cup and played with a lot of pride, passion and we got caught short today. These things happen. But you can’t doubt the effort of the players. I thought they were extraordinary.
“Why we came up short today I’m not sure and sometimes you never know.
“It was a great World Cup. We feel humbled to be part of it and we’re disappointed we’re not the world’s best team. We finished second. The silver medal is not as good as the gold medal, but it’s a silver medal and I’m proud of my players.
“I’m proud of the way they’ve conducted themselves in Japan. They’ve been great ambassadors for English rugby and for the sport of rugby.
“The game of rugby has grown over this tournament. We now have another serious rugby nation and I’m sure Japan will push that influence into Asia so the game’s growing.
“There have been great competitive matches, well refereed, well administered, well organised. It’s been a tremendous tournament and Japan should be so proud of what they’ve done for rugby and for the country.
“We’re just disappointed we didn’t get the money today, mate. But there’s always another day.”