England backs criticised

2014-11-16 10:00
Clive Woodward (File)

London - England World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward has criticised the absence of "real footballers" in the Red Rose back division after their 31-28 loss to the Springboks at Twickenham on Saturday.

Woodward, who guided England to World Cup glory in 2003, saw current coach Stuart Lancaster's side match the Springboks up front, but fail match them behind the scrum.

Springbok centre Jan Serfontein grabbed an intercept try in the first half and scrum-half Cobus Reinach, making his maiden Test start, scored his first Springbok try after fly-half Pat Lambie's brilliant chip ahead was regathered, at speed, by fullback Willie le Roux a minute after the break.

It was England's second agonising three-point loss in as many weeks following the 24-21 defeat by world champions New Zealand and their fifth in a row -- albeit four were against the All Blacks -- with this run their worst since they suffered seven straight reverses in 2006.

"The forward pack is doing really well," said Woodward. "The front five, the scrums, the line-out, all the traditional strengths of English rugby are going well.

"It's outside of that I just don't think we are quick enough and we're certainly not playing enough real footballers in the backs division to take on Australia, South Africa and New Zealand -- which has to be the goal," added Woodward, who in his playing days starred as a free-running centre in England's 1980 Grand Slam-winning side.

England scrum-half Danny Care won his 50th cap on Saturday but it was his slow pass that led to Serfontein's try.

"I know people will write us off now but I know the self-belief there is in this side," Care said.

"We gave them a 10-point start and against the best teams in the world you suffer.

"We were a bit loose in the first half, coughed up the ball too much and gifted them seven points which was obviously my bag (fault)."

Bok captain Jean de Villiers was delighted by the way his side bounced back from their surprise 29-15 defeat by Ireland in Dublin last week.

"We probably got points on the board at the right times, we left a lot out there, but we could have conceded a couple more," he said.

England saw prop David Wilson and replacement No 8 Ben Morgan drive over for tries during a 10-minute spell in the second half when South Africa were a man down after lock Victor Matfield was sin-binned.

But with the game level at 20-20, and Matfield still off the field, the Springboks hit back with a try from flanker Schalk Burger.

By the time England's South Africa-born centre Brad Barritt narrowed the gap with a late try it wasn't enough to turn the tide.

"The South Africans benefited from our errors rather than constructing too much themselves," said Lancaster.

"That's what we need to improve on. We need to be smarter if we're going to beat the top sides in the world as has been shown in the last two games."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Did Stormers and Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit deserve to be named SA Rugby Player of the Year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.