Tuilagi: Defeat will make us even tighter
Manu Tuilagi came out fighting after a hefty defeat to the Springboks left England “hurting” and booed off the Twickenham pitch.
The centre was in bullish mood following the 27-13 loss – which meant England managed just one win over Japan for their Autumn efforts – with critics set to stick the boot in. But Tuilagi claimed: “If they do, that’s brilliant. It’s part of life. You have to take the rough with the smooth which makes you better players and people.
“We’re all disappointed. We made a few mistakes and South Africa punished us. That’s what great teams do to you. If you make one slip up they will punish you.
“The exciting thing and frustrating thing at the same time is that we know what we can do but it’s about finding that consistency.”
Head coach Eddie Jones tried to deflect the criticism away from his players and took “full responsibility” for the defeat. He insisted: “I don’t care what other people think about me. I have coached for a number of years and I believe I can coach well. There are ups and downs in sport and I apologise for that. I take full responsibility for that.
“Obviously we want to win games and be successful. Are we heading in the right direction? Yes we are. Results tell you everything and that’s what we are judged by. But we are building a very good base toward the World Cup and are not far away. We did not fire a shot today and we are all disappointed about that.”
Captain Owen Farrell, who endured a poor kicking game, conceded: “It was a chance to finish our Autumn well and we failed to do so. There was a lack of accuracy and bite at times. The game was fairly slow which they are very good at. We need to be better in these occasions.”
Tuilagi added: “This defeat is going to make us even more tight as a group. These are the times when you have to stay together and go through them together because when we come out the other side it makes it even sweeter.
“Life isn’t about just sunshine and rainbows. You have to take the rough with the smooth. We are hurting but we have to take it on the chin. We have been building over the last five weeks has been really good and we have taken steps forward. We will take that into the Six Nations and then into the World Cup.”
South Africa captain Siya Kolisi claimed: “This win was for the people back home who have kept behind us. We stuck to our guns. We have effort, physicallity and work rate all day long as a team. There is still a lot more we can do but I think we have learned a lot more from our team.”
England were out-battled and out-played by their rivals who controlled the game with tries from wing Kurt-Lee Arendse and lock Eben Etzebeth. South Africa had to play the last 20 minutes following the red card to prop Thomas du Toit for a dangerous shoulder charge on Luke Cowan-Dickie.
England, who had Tom Curry sin-binned, could only muster one try from replacement Henry Slade when the visitors were down to 14 men.
The result meant it was England’s worst calendar year since 2008 and piles the pressure on Jones.
Just ten months before the World Cup in France, England now face a winter of worry and problems
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