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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 27 February 2021

Jones proud of England but says they'll be 'kicking stones for four years'

The England head coach was at a loss to explain how his side failed to back up their win against the All Blacks.

IN THE END, Eddie Jones had to admit he was stumped.

The England boss simply couldn’t explain how England had gone from a sublime semi-final win against the All Blacks to underperforming against the superb Springboks in the World Cup final.

eddie-jones-dejected A dejected Eddie Jones after England's defeat. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Jones was quick to credit Rassie Erasmus’ side for their controlled and clinical performance in a 32-12 win but he couldn’t put his finger on what had gone wrong for England.

“South Africa were worthy winners, they played very well,” said Jones. “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.

“I don’t know why we didn’t play well today and this is one of the things that happens in high-level rugby. We thought our preparation this week was good but, in the end, it wasn’t because we didn’t play well.

“You can have the most investigative debrief of your game and you still don’t know what was wrong. It just happens sometimes. It’s not a good day for it to happen. We’re going to be kicking stones now for four years and it’s hard to kick stones for four years.

“We’re massively disappointed but, at the same time, I’ve got great admiration for what the players did.

“I can’t tell you how much respect I’ve got for them, how hard they’ve worked, how well they’ve played but we came short today. But it’s not because of lack of effort, mate.”

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It remains to be seen what happens next with England and Jones. His current contract runs until 2021 but there has been some speculation that the head coach might step away after this World Cup.

england-v-south-africa-2019-rugby-world-cup-final-yokohama-stadium Jones underlined his pride in this England team. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Whatever follows for Jones and England, they were keen to simply drown their sorrows first.

“The only thing I’m worried about now is having a few beers,” said Jones. “And after we have a few beers today we’ll probably have a few more beers tomorrow.

“And then probably Monday. And then maybe we have to pull up stumps.”

Jones will likely be plagued by regrets about England letting this opportunity slip, but he insisted that he is proud of how his team played in this World Cup in Japan.

“We’re the second-best team in the world, mate,” said Jones. “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 and passion but we got caught short today. These things happen but you can’t doubt the effort of the players. I thought they were extraordinary.

“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.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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