Wellington - Springbok captain John Smit said he had discussed with referee Bryce Lawrence his liberal reading of the breakdown during their 11-9 quarter-final loss to Australia on Sunday.
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This allowed Wallaby flanker David Pocock to produce a display that won him the Man-of-the-Match accolade but could easily have seen him sin-binned under a stricter interpretation of the rules.
"That was the only talking point in the game between me and the referee, obviously the message I was trying to get through was not being listened to," said Smit.
Given Kiwi official Lawrence's rulings, Pocock was "brilliant", Smit said.
"We had most of the possession so he had plenty of chances to slow it down," he said. "He's good at that.
"We decided to be brave and keep the ball and normally you get rewarded as the attacking team but it wasn't quite that way tonight."
He added: "It's the first time I've lost a game on the scoreboard but won everything else from a stats point of view. That makes it even harder to accept."
Smit said his departure after seven years as skipper of the Springboks was a "sad occasion".
"You want it to be a fairlytale, you want it to be in a final having won it but it hasn't worked out like that," the 33-year-old said.
"It would be silly of me to take those seven years and judge it on what happened today.
"I've been blessed to be in charge of these guys and run out with them. It's the end of a chapter.
"You look at what's left and what's coming next year, you can pick a pack of forwards, Bismarck (du Plessis) replaces me and Andries Bekker replaces Victor (Matfield) and it doesn't look too bad, so it's really a good place for South Africa."
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