Ford can’t fathom why it ended with whim­per

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - THE SCORE -

Ge­orge Ford is at a loss to ex­plain Eng­land’s in­abil­ity to make a mean­ing­ful con­test of the World Cup fi­nal.

A 32-12 de­feat in Yoko­hama ended Ja­pan 2019 in the most de­flat­ing way pos­si­ble for the Red Rose as Ed­die Jones’ men failed to show up for a match they were ex­pected to com­fort­ably win.

The Spring­boks sav­aged pas­sive op­po­nents who barely fired a shot, their mas­tery up front matched by two bril­liantly taken tries fin­ished by wings Maka­zole Mapimpi and Ch­es­lin Kolbe.

Af­ter the spec­tac­u­lar de­mo­li­tion of New Zealand in the semi-fi­nals, English op­ti­mism was cru­elly punc­tured and Ford echoed Jones’ ad­mis­sion that the rea­sons are baf­fling.

“South Africa were the bet­ter team on the day by a good dis­tance. It’s mas­sively dis­ap­point­ing,” Ford said.

“We can’t put our fin­ger on why but some­times you have days like that when you’re not good enough. The thing with cup fi­nals is it’s on the day. You get to a fi­nal and you’re not guar­an­teed any­thing, all it was was an op­por­tu­nity. And we were not good enough but we’ll stick to­gether and we’ll move on.

“It’s hard to say any­thing to make any­one feel bet­ter.”

Eng­land flat­tened New Zealand dur­ing a light­ning-fast start but against South Africa they were on the re­ceiv­ing end of the same treat­ment and never re­cov­ered as the Spring­boks be­came the first team to lose a World Cup game yet lift the Webb El­lis Tro­phy.

“We were in­ac­cu­rate in the first 20 min­utes and couldn’t get a foothold in the game in any sense,” Ford said.

“They kept putting pres­sure on us and man­aged to get points on the board. Against a team like South Africa, it’s al­ways hard to chase.

“Phys­i­cal­ity and ac­cu­racy are prob­a­bly two things you need to get to­gether to get a fast start. I thought they had both of them and we prob­a­bly lacked some ac­cu­racy.

“We needed to ab­sorb what they were throw­ing at us and then to try and throw a few punches our­selves. We just weren’t good enough to do that.”

“It’s hard to say any­thing to make any­one feel bet­ter”

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