Steve Borthwick upbeat about England’s future after agonising World Cup defeat

By Sports Desk October 21, 2023

Steve Borthwick vowed to use England’s heartbreaking World Cup semi-final exit at the hands of South Africa to sow a seed for future success.

Borthwick’s unfancied side led by nine points in the final quarter and were on the cusp of a famous win until Handre Pollard’s late penalty condemned them to an agonising 16-15 defeat.

Many of England’s players collapsed to their knees following a colossal, but ultimately unsuccessful, effort against the reigning champions on a sodden evening in Paris.

While head coach Borthwick was similarly crestfallen by the dramatic late twist at Stade de France, he was proud of the efforts of his team and upbeat about what lies ahead.

“We came here with a plan to win the game and we fell a little bit short, not far short but a little bit short, so we’re desperately disappointed,” he said.

“I think we all truly believed we could do it, we were going to do it, and we came very close to doing so.

“In adversity, in these tough times, there’s usually some seed of it there that will grow and be something brilliant in the future.

“Right now it’s too early for me to find that seed but we’ll make sure we find it.

“We’ll make sure that we take some of what we find tonight, some of what we’ve gone through tonight, we’ll make sure we grab that and we’ll make sure it makes us stronger in the future.”

Captain Owen Farrell produced an outstanding performance, kicking all of his side’s points, including a superb drop goal.

His efforts looked to be sufficient for victory but RG Snyman barged over for the only try of the match in the 70th minute to set up a grandstand finish.

Man-of-the-match Pollard, who booted the Springboks to victory over England in the 2019 final, nailed the tricky conversion and then landed a monster penalty two minutes from time to inflict more anguish on the opposition.

“The players should be incredibly proud of what they’ve done and continue to do as they represent England rugby,” continued Borthwick.

“I know I’ll have at home a couple of young boys who are going to be bitterly disappointed and I’m sure there are lots of people that are proud but also gutted back in England, I’m sure there are millions of people like that.

“I care about these players, I care about these supporters, and I care about English rugby.

“What I see is a group of guys who are doing as much as they possibly can to set an example, to build a team, to have supporters proud of them.

“They’re led by this man next to me (Farrell), who I think has been and continues to be a phenomenal player and an incredible leader of this team.”

New Zealand await South Africa in next weekend’s final.

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber praised his team’s fighting spirit.

“I pay a lot of credit to England,” he said. “They were outstanding on the night.

“They had a very good tactical plan and they put us under pressure. We will have to improve because it took us some time to get to grips with it.

“But the strength of this team is that even if we’re not playing well we find a way to get the result.

“It took 80 minutes to get a foothold in the game. The team refused to give up and fought until the end.”

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi was convinced fly-half Pollard, who came on for Manie Libbok with only half an hour gone, would land the decisive penalty from just inside England’s half.

“I had no doubt at all,” he said. “He’s done it for us before.

“England are a world-class team and completely different to a year ago. They had an amazing game plan which we took too long to adapt to.

“These things happen but we dug deep to get the victory. Other teams wouldn’t be able to get the win from this. I’m not going to say it was ugly, we did what was needed.”

Related items

  • CWI, JCA partner to give young cricket enthusiasts taste of international cricket CWI, JCA partner to give young cricket enthusiasts taste of international cricket

    In a bid to foster a deeper appreciation for cricket among the youth of the Caribbean, Cricket West Indies (CWI) provided tickets for students and teachers, as well as members of Jamaica’s age-group teams to enjoy the three-match series between West Indies and South Africa at Sabina Park.

    The initiative which CWI says forms part of its corporate social responsibility efforts. The regional body provided 2,685 tickets to students, 412 to teachers, and 198 tickets to players from the Under-15, Under-17 and Uner-19 teams, ensuring these young athletes have the chance to experience top-tier cricket action.

    The Schools Ticketing Programme, a central element of this initiative, is designed to immerse young minds in the thrill of cricket, offering them the opportunity to witness international matches and develop a lasting passion for the sport.

    CWI President, Dr. Kishore Shallow, underscored the importance of cultivating a strong cricket culture across the region, and this he said reflects his administration’s ongoing commitment to youth engagement and sports development.

    "We are keen to help revitalize cricket in Jamaica. Introducing the children to cricket is vital for the future of the sport in Jamaica and the entire region. By bringing students to these matches, we are not only providing them with an enjoyable experience but also nurturing an appreciation and love for cricket that can grow with them,” Shallow said.

    "This Schools Ticketing Programme initiative is about more than just watching a game; it's about creating a connection with the sport that can inspire future generations,” he added.

    Recently-elected Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) President Dr. Donovan Bennett, expressed enthusiasm for the initiative and its potential impact.

    "We are thrilled to collaborate with CWI for this Schools Ticketing Programme. This initiative promotes cricket and instils values of teamwork, discipline, and perseverance in our young people," he said.

    "By exposing students to live cricket matches, they are getting a deeper understanding and appreciation for the game. This experience is invaluable for their personal and athletic development,” Dr. Bennett noted.

    West Indies won Thursday’s first game by 28 runs. The remaining two matches of the series are scheduled for Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 at the same venue. Start time is 2:00pm.

  • King leads the way as West Indies see off South Africa in T20I opener King leads the way as West Indies see off South Africa in T20I opener

    Brandon King led the way as West Indies enjoyed a 28-run victory in the opening match of their T20I series with South Africa. 

    In his first T20I as captain, King top-scored with 79 from 45 balls during the first international at Sabina Park in nearly two years.

    The 29-year-old set the forthcoming T20 World Cup co-hosts on their way with a 79-run partnership with Kyle Mayers helping them to 109/1 after 10 overs.

    However, they struggled to build on that momentum and were 66/7 thereon to finish on 175/8 with Ottneil Baartman and Andile Phehlukwayo both taking three wickets apiece.

    South Africa were slow out of the blocks with Quinton de Kock failing to reach double figures as they were reduced to 35/3 in the fifth over, and required 99 runs to win at the halfway point in their innings.

    Reeza Hendricks - the only visiting player to score more than 20 - put on an impressive late surge of 87 off 51 balls, but it proved academic with the Proteas bowled out for 147.

    Data debrief

    Becoming the 14th different player to captain West Indies in men's T20Is, King will have been pleased to start his reign against South Africa - the nation against whom he boasted his best T20I batting strike in the format (171.4).

    He certainly continued in that vein, reaching 50 off just 26 balls for his fastest T20I half-century. It proved crucial as the hosts went on to record their biggest margin of victory over the Proteas when batting first.

  • Hail King: Stand-in captain's 79 guides Windies to 28-run win over SA on successful return to Sabina Park Hail King: Stand-in captain's 79 guides Windies to 28-run win over SA on successful return to Sabina Park

    It was a welcome return of international cricket to Sabina Park, even moreso for stand-in captain Brandon King, who led from the front as West Indies downed South Africa by 28 runs in the first of their three Twenty20 (T20) warm-up encounters on Thursday.

    King, who is leading the team for the first time on his home soil, gave the decent size crowd much to cheer about with a well-played 79 off 45 balls, which assisted the Caribbean side to 175-8 from their allotment, before Matthew Forde (3-27), Gudakesh Motie (3-25) and Obed McCoy (2-15), restricted South Africa to 147 in 19.5 overs.

    Despite the absence of the main scoreboard –which has been out for almost four years now –as well as an underprepared tabled press area, King and company ensured that the first international game at the venue since 2022, was a successful one.

    The 29-year-old, who is deputizing for compatriot Rovman Powell, attributed his Player-of-the-Match knock, which included six fours and six maximums, to the familiar conditions.

    “Obviously it is leading up to the World Cup so we want to be playing good cricket and we got the win today, so we are happy with that and I think we played well all around,” King said in a post-game interview.

    “I had the advantage of knowing the conditions well and I know that it is easiest to bat when it’s the new ball so I had to try and get a good start and I executed well. At the mid-way point I think we had 200-220 in mind as we had wickets in hand but it is a difficult wicket to bat on when the ball gets older, but we still managed to get a competitive total on this wicket,” he added.

    After being asked to take first strike, King started positively, but lost opening partner Johnson Charles (one) in the fourth over with the score at 36.

    However, he found another useful ally in Kyle Mayers, and the added a further 79 runs for the second wicket, with King, the aggressor raising his 10th international half-century off 27 balls in the sixth over when he drove a length delivery from Lungi Ngidi to the midwicket boundary.

    The skipper continued to take the South African bowlers to task, before he eventually went, reaching for one of Andile Phehlukwayo that came off the toe of the bat and was caught by his opposite number Rassie van der Dussen.

    Still, at 115-2 after 11 overs, West Indies remained on course for a massive total, but then came the familiar collapse as they lost three wickets in quick succession. Mayers was first to go for a 25-ball 34, including three sixes and a solitary four, with Andre Fletcher (one) and Fabian Allen (one) following.

    In fact, apart from vice-captain Roston Chase, who made a measured unbeaten 32 off 30 balls, which had two fours and a six, none of the batsmen got into double figures.

    Phehlukwayo (3-28) and Ottneil Baartman (3-26) did the damage for South Africa.

    In reply, South Africa started with Quinton De Cock driving Matthew Forde’s first ball, a full length delivery, straight down the ground. However, the 22-year-old Barbadian responded immediately as he served up another full length delivery, just around off stump, which forced de Kock into another drive, but the left-hander got a slight edge and Andre Fletcher made no mistakes behind the stumps.

    Debutant Ryan Rickelton (six) also had a brief stay in the middle, and from there, the visitors laboured, despite Reeza Hendricks making his 15th T20 international half-century. Hendricks, who was ninth man out with just two balls left of the innings, made a career-best 87 off 51 balls with six sixes and six fours.

    Captain Rassie van der Dussen (17) and Matthew Breetzke (19) were the only other South African batsmen to reach double figures.

    The second and third games of the series are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, at the same venue, ahead of the much-anticipated June-1-29 T20 World Cup hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.