yt 7359 Maro Itoje reacts after Englands Rugby World Cup Final loss to South Africa The News - Maro Itoje reacts after England's Rugby World Cup Final loss to South Africa - The News

Maro Itoje reacts after England’s Rugby World Cup Final loss to South Africa – The News

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For any copyright, please send me a message.  Maro Itoje stood and stared into space, struggling to keep his emotions in check.  Around him opponents wearing green baseball hats, with ‘Champions 2019’ embossed in gold writing, looked understandably pleased with themselves.  A week earlier he had occupied the same spot in the same room, recounting how it felt to be man of the match in perhaps England’s greatest Rugby World Cup performance.  Their New Zealand masterclass seemed a lifetime ago now. South Africa had battered them all black and blue and super Maro was feeling broken.    “Losing this game is one of the most painful experiences I’ve had in life,” he said. “Not only in my rugby career.”  Team mates with equally haunted looks shuffled past as he fronted up to a monumental disappointment. The distress was clear in them all.  They had not seen this coming, much as Itoje did not clock Kyle Sinckler until they collided in the third minute, knocking the ‘runaway rhino’ out of the final.  “We will be super prepared,” Itoje had promised after the semi-final, after standing up to the Haka then winning three turnovers and seven lineouts.  “We will make sure our training is good and make sure the guys have the right attitude.”    He meant it too and their commitment through the week did not falter. A lighter workload, yes, but only because Eddie Jones decreed it that way.  “We weren’t looking to match last week, we were looking to go one better,” he said. “Everyone was pumped, everyone was really excited for the opportunity.”  And then, seemingly out of nowhere, they were mowed down by a green juggernaut and all that had been light turned dark.  “Sport is cruel sometimes,” Itoje reflected. “We just didn’t get our game going. We didn’t start with the tenacity we had planned. We are very gutted. This meant a lot to a lot of people.”  Out on the main stage Siya Kolisi was being hailed as the first black captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup, an accolade one or two of us felt could go to Itoje in France next time round.    That one has got away now, but it is the title opportunity lost that really hurts.  England are not the first team to beat the All Blacks during a World Cup and then blow the final. Four times in six tournaments it has happened.  But there was no consolation in that as South Africa celebrated and the Rugby Football Union hastily abandoned plans for a victory parade in central London.  “We’re talking,” said Itoje when asked about the mood in the changing room. “It’s obviously not exactly a disco in there. We’re united, we’re talking and trying to console each other.  “As you can imagine, it’s a tough time and period to go through. But if we stay together all will be well in a while.” Read More Ru

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