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England mistakes prove costly
Springboks dish out a harsh lesson
Posted Nov 28, 2010 by Jeff Dawson
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England’s rugby stars were taught a brutal lesson by reigning world champions South Africa yesterday, and it’s a lesson that the English must learn from and learn from quickly.
The hosts, who lost 21-11 at Twickenham, were second best and a stream of errors throughout the 80 minutes highlighted just how far they have to go in terms of competing with the best. For all the good that came of wins over Australia and Samoa, and the improvement they showed in the loss against New Zealand, this is the result that will teach the English the most.
It was a harsh reflection of the concentration levels required at Test level and this brutal reality will need to hit home and hit home quickly. England need to learn that if you make errors they will come back to haunt you and that you have to get the fundamentals right all the time – and that goes for any form of the game.
England made too many mistakes. And worryingly it wasn’t just in one area that did the damage. They had too many knock-ons, they weren’t getting to the loose balls, they gave away too many penalties and they lost plenty of set-piece ball. And if you make consistent mistakes then you are going to concede and get punished.
On a positive note, England did manage to deal with the style of play South Africa brought to the fore and that was pleasing to see. The kicking game of the Springboks was shrewd throughout but England, for the most part, were ok with that. And considering this was the first time a lot of the England players had faced the South Africans, plenty of positives can still be taken.
The one major pleasing point was that they tried to play their rugby throughout even when the ball wasn’t sticking and they tried to play the right type of game.
And skipper Lewis Moody summed it up brilliantly by saying: “We have to be happy with the way we’re playing at the minute. We’re building and we’re confident as a group – we’re a tight-knit group now. We just have to keep building, keep delivering and keep believing in ourselves.”