Friday, November 28, 2008
England play New Zealand tomorrow as they look to regain the faith of the public after their awful performance against the Springboks on Saturday. The World Champions handed the hosts their worst defeat at Twickenham ever, crushing them 42-6 in a one side rematch of the World Cup Final.
The Springboks, who had already beaten Wales and Scotland, made pre-match suggestions that they were too tired look laughable with a performance of classy opportunism in attack and dogged determination in defence.
Tries by Danie Rossouw, Ruan Pienaar, Adi Jacobs, Jaque Fourie and Bryan Habana and assured goalkicking by Pienaar after the break completed a hugely satisfying European tour with South Africa's sixth win in a row against England.
On a day that marked the fifth anniversary of England's 2003 World Cup triumph, the home side were given a stark reminder of how far they have fallen since that glorious night in Sydney and the heady days of seven successive wins over the Springboks.
"It was a brutal lesson," coach Martin Johnson told Sky Sports News. "We created a lot of opportunities but the execution was poor."
Springbok captain John Smit said: "We signed off in style. I asked a lot from the guys this week but they gave me more.
"I could feel it before the game, you know every guy is really on task and you get these wonderful days when everything comes together."
England's defeat, with the All Blacks to come next week, severely dents their chances of hanging on to their top-four place in the world rankings and could leave them out of the top seeds for the 2011 World Cup draw on Dec. 1.
"It's a real character week for all of us now," said Johnson. "We can either pack it all up or come back and try to win the game. We have to bounce back and play our hearts out."