They lost a game they should’ve won – that was the gist of the message from captain Siya Kolisi immediately after the game as the Springboks went down 12-11 to England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Rassie Erasmus’ team missed chance after chance to put the English away, with Malcolm Marx one of the chief culprits as he overthrew three prime attacking lineouts, while Handré Pollard missed a late penalty that clipped the upright.
Of course, Australian referee Angus Gardner’s controversial decision not to award a penalty for an obvious shoulder charge by Owen Farrell on André Esterhuizen cost the Boks victory.
But when asked by Sky Sports in the post-match interview if the Boks should’ve received a penalty, Kolisi opted to rather focus on his own team’s shortcomings.
“We made it really tough for ourselves. I think we didn’t capitalise on our opportunities when we had them, especially when we got to the 22,” Kolisi said.
“We had so many chances that we could’ve taken, but England played really well today. The tough thing for us is that we know we were our own worst enemies.
“We stuck with the plan, but the problem is that we didn’t execute. The plan worked well, but when we got to the place to take the points, we didn’t do that – and that’s the tough thing about it.
“But I thought they did well, with all their disruptions in the week with injuries. All credit to their coach Eddie (Jones), and Dylan Hartley.”
Now the Boks head to Paris to take on France next Saturday, with Tests to follow against Scotland and Wales.
Kolisi is positive that his team will pick themselves up to build on their overall season, which is highlighted by the victory over the All Blacks in Wellington.
“We’ve had a great couple of months, but we are still learning and trying to improve. We are still building. But it’s really tough to lose like this, especially in this jersey.”
England 12 – Penalties: Owen Farrell (3), Elliot Daly (1).
Springboks 11 – Try: Sbu Nkosi. Penalties: Handré Pollard (2).