'The players should be incredibly proud' - England coach Steve Borthwick

England's World Cup campaign came to an end with a one-point defeat to South Africa in the semi-final
England's World Cup campaign came to an end with a one-point defeat to South Africa in the semi-final
©Photo by Adam Pretty - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

England head coach Steve Borthwick said that his players should be 'incredibly proud' of his team's performance in the ongoing Rugby World Cup.

Borthwick's men overturned their pre-tournament form with a consistent performance having completed the group stage undefeated followed by a quarter-final victory over Fiji.

However, their campaign came to an end as they were edged out by the Springboks with a 15-16 margin after Handre Pollard kicked a 77th minute penalty goal to hand England a heartbreak.

Admitting that the close defeat was extremely disappointing, Borthwick, who took over from Eddie Jones at the start of the year credited the players for the turnaround considering they were ranked eighth in the World Rugby Rankings prior to the tournament.

“In adversity, in these tough times, there’s some seed that will grow and be brilliant in the future,” said Borthwick.

“Right now it’s too early for me to find that seed but we’ll make sure we find that, we’ll make sure that we grab that and it makes us stronger in the future.

“I think the whole team’s performance was strong. We’re disappointed. We came here with a plan to win the game and we fell short. We’re desperately disappointed. The players should be incredibly proud. I care about these players, these supporters and English rugby.

“What I see is a group of guys who are doing as much as they can to build a team to have supporters as proud of them as they possibly can. We all truly believed we could do it, we were going to do it but we fell short.

"As you look at the team, in that 23 there were seven players 25 or under. South Africa had one. There’s a great blend within this squad and there’ll be lots of things we can take forward. We put ourselves in a position but we came up short.”