Goode says players to blame

Andy Goode believes the buck must stop with England's failed players after their troubled autumn Test series reached a predictable conclusion through another shambolic defeat. [more]

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Andy Goode believes the buck must stop with England’s failed players after their troubled autumn Test series reached a predictable conclusion through another shambolic defeat.

England spectacularly blew a 14-3 lead, conceding 22 unanswered points as South Africa recorded a first victory at Twickenham since 1997.

Andre Pretorius finished one drop-goal short of matching Springboks fly-half predecessor Jannie De Beer’s five strikes that helped dump England from the 1999 World Cup, while many disgruntled red rose fans either booed Andy Robinson’s misfiring team or voted with their feet and left early.

As against Argentina two weeks earlier, England lost their way during the closing first-half minutes, leaking a try, conversion and two penalties through clueless tactical execution.

And once South Africa edged ahead, they never looked like relinquishing an opportunity to strike a psychological blow ahead of next year’s pivotal World Cup pool clash between the countries in Paris.

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England could only reflect on a tale of woe highlighted by 12 missed tackles, 11 turnovers conceded and an error-count in their kicking game that again nudged double figures.

It was probably Robinson’s final game in charge after a 22-Test reign that produced just nine victories, and fly-half Goode offered no excuses for an eighth defeat from their last nine games.

"It is the simple things that are costing us dearly," he said.

"We gave away stupid penalties that let them back into the game, and then we were inaccurate in attack, while the tackle area was a bit of a free-for-all which we didn’t handle as well we could have done.

"We played some reasonable rugby at times, but we played some poor stuff as well.

"We have been very inconsistent throughout the autumn series, and we need to improve basic things such as ball-handling and looking after the ball in contact.

"We have got to tighten the whole thing up, go through the video and be more brutal and be more honest with each other about the little mistakes that are being made.

"Little mistakes add up to big things, and that is what is happening in our game at the moment."

Asked how the players would respond if Robinson exits Twickenham, Goode added: "We would feel very bad.

"The things we are doing wrong are all individual basic errors by players.

"The framework is there in attack and defence, it is just individual errors that are undermining our performance.

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