George Ford cited England’s first-half inaccuracy as a key factor in their Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa.
A week on from producing one of the great Test displays to beat defending champions New Zealand 19-7, Eddie Jones’ men failed to hit anything like the same heights, with the Springboks’ immense physicality proving decisive.
Fly-half Ford was replaced by Henry Slade early in the second half as England went down 32-12, late tries for Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe sealing a record-equalling third title for South Africa after Handre Pollard had kicked six penalties.
“We were massively inaccurate first half when we had the ball, [and] couldn’t build any pressure,” Ford told ITV Sport.
“South Africa got us into that game which they’re very good at, so it’s very, very disappointing from us and it’s a hard one to take.”
Well played @Springboks
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 2, 2019
England’s forwards struggled to match their South African counterparts, but Ford was keen to highlight his pack’s efforts throughout the tournament.
“You always want to get on the front foot. I can’t fault our lads up front – they’ve been unbelievable all tournament,” he said. “South Africa just got one over us today and it’s one we have to take on the chin.
“It’s so tough when they get a bit of a lead like that. They keep kicking the threes and you have to chase the game.
“Congratulations to them – they executed their game plan brilliantly.”
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