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Sunday, October 24, 1999 Published at 20:50 GMT 21:50 UK

Woodward laments 'end of a dream'

Dejected England: "We thought we should have done better"

England's defeat in their World Cup quarter-final to South Africa was "a mega disappointment...the end of a dream", says coach Clive Woodward.

Clive Woodward: "It was nobody's fault"
"I have never seen a game with five drop-goals. We tried everything, but it was not to be. The game is over, the World Cup is over for England. That's it," he said.

"We thought we had a chance. I can't blame anybody...we thought we should have done better."

'Have a bash'

His opposite number, Nick Mallett had nothing but praise for his fly-half Jannie de Beer, who kicked a world record five drop goals and 34 points in total - itself a South African individual points record.

[ image: Clive Woodward:
Clive Woodward: "The game is over. That's it"
"It was a truly phenomenal performance," he said.

"I told him before the game 'go out and have a bash'. He stuck one or two away and I thought it was his day.

"It was a funny old game...England tried to play expansive rugby, but we closed them down and took our opportunities."

He said that while his side had been "fanastic" it was a pity England were out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage.

No defence

"I felt they got the rough end of the draw," said Mallett.

De Beer himself was typically understated, describing his record-setting performance as just "one of those days".

[ image: Jannie de Beer:
Jannie de Beer: "Truly phenomenal"
"We had one or two ideas we thought might come off against England and they did," he said.

"We knew we had a chance when we were drawn to play England in Paris. Twickenham might have been another story."

South Africa's 1995 World Cup winning captain Francois Pienaar told ITV Sport: "I haven't seen a kicking display like that before in my whole life and I don't think we will for a long time.

"The drop-kick is the only attack you can't defend against."

England centre Jeremy Guscott, who retired from international rugby last week because of a long-standing groin injury, said the Springbok strategy was simple.

"They got the ball to Jannie de Beer and he was going to slot them in from anywhere."

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