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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 November, 2003, 11:39 GMT
Krige laments lack of ball
Joost van der Westhuizen retired from Test rugby

Springbok captain Corne Krige blamed a lack of possession on his side's exit from the World Cup at the hands of New Zealand.

The All Blacks overpowered South Africa 29-9 in the quarter-final in Melbourne and outscored South Africa three tries to nil.

New Zealand led 13-6 at half-time after dominating with the ball for the majority of the opening period.

And the powerful Kiwi pack were able to fend off any hopes of a South African resurgence after the break as the All Blacks strolled into the semi-finals.

"For the first 25 minutes of the first half we didn't even see the ball," said Krige.

"I felt if we could get hold of the ball then keep it we could have punished their defence.

We won a lot of hearts for the way we have played at this tournament, but maybe the World Cup did come a year too soon
South African coach Rudolf Straeuli

"They knew what they were doing out there. We couldn't get our hands on the ball and you can't win without the ball.

"I don't think the commitment left us, we just couldn't get the ball.

"You have to look at the pressure they put on us, there were a lot of mistakes."

Losing in the quarter-finals is South Africa's worst World Cup result since they made their debut in the tournament in 1995.

"As a team and a nation it was a disappointment. We have come here to win the World Cup and we didn't," said coach Rudolf Straeuli.

"We won a lot of hearts for the way we have played at this tournament, but maybe the World Cup did come a year too soon."

The loss also ushered in the end of an era for South African rugby as former captain and inspirational scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen retired from the Test arena.

"The level of play van der Westhuizen showed there is true spirit in this Springbok team," said Straeuli.

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