Eddie Jones stunned after England's World Cup final defeat to the Springboks
The usually garrulous Eddie Jones was at a loss after his side was resoundingly beaten 32-12 by the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup final.
Jones‚ who is never short of a quip or a verbal jibe‚ could not explain how his side could produce a performance of such quality in the semifinal against the All Blacks‚ and seemingly not pitch up for the final.
“That wasn’t the outcome we expected‚ mate. I don’t know about the question‚” said Jones as his post match inquisition started.
“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.”
Jones was‚ however‚ being pressed on the matter and was hard-pressed for an answer.
“Not really sure‚ mate‚" he said.
"We got in trouble at the scrum. We struggled‚ particularly in the first half.
"We made some personnel changes in the second half and got back into it‚ but again South Africa were too strong for us.
“We didn’t think that was going to be the case going into the game but that’s how it happened. That’s what happens in rugby sometimes.
“You’ve got to be able to break the game open a bit and you’ve got to be able to stay in the fight.
"I thought we stayed in the fight pretty well and 50 minutes into the game we were in with a chance but we couldn’t take our opportunities.
"They took their opportunities and that was the difference in the game.”
Naturally Jones was going to be asked about England’s sterling performance against the All Blacks and their inability to scale similar heights in the final.
“That could be a factor‚ mate‚ I’m not sure‚" he continued.
"I don’t know why we didn’t play well 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 up short today. But it’s not because of lack of effort‚ mate.”
The coach didn’t want to dwell on the matter and stressed the point that England should accept their fate.
“We’re the second best team in the world‚ mate‚" he said.
"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 only thing I’m worried about now is having a few beers.
"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.”