Express Sport columnist Jason Robinson reflects on England’s Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa in Tokyo.
After so much expectation and optimism, for it all to come to such a bitter end like that was so deflating. They just couldn’t finish the job.
I take my hat off to South Africa – they were excellent, particularly their scrum and defence – but England weren’t good enough on the day.
And a World Cup final is not the day for that.
England could not seem to get going. The injury to Kyle Sinckler early on was a blow but the absence of one player cannot be blamed for how many mistakes there were.
It wasn’t for lack of effort but England couldn’t seem to get a foothold in the match. There were so few glimpses of what they are capable of.
I know how it feels for the players having lost two World Cup finals myself in two codes – they will be hurting for a long time.
It’s such a shame after they put so much in into this campaign. They have come a long way in four years since they went out at the pool stage of their home World Cup.
But a silver medal will feel worthless after coming so close.
The cards fell South Africa’s way with England eliminating New Zealand.
I rate the Springboks – the turnaround job Rassie Erasmus has done is exceptional – but I still don’t think they would have beaten the All Blacks in the final.
They made the most of their opportunity yesterday. Unfortunately England didn’t.