Francois Louw: Springboks still coming to terms with World Cup semi-final defeat
Francois Louw refuses to take any consolation from pushing New Zealand to the brink as South Africa's hopes of securing a place in the Rugby World Cup final ground to a halt at Twickenham.
The Springboks were toppled 20-18 in a compelling last-four appointment on Saturday that saw Richie McCaw's men draw on all their experience and nous to preserve their hopes of becoming the first team to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.
Friday's bronze final at the Olympic Stadium is South Africa's final assignment and Louw knows it is a poor substitute for the global showpiece being staged the following afternoon.
"New Zealand are the team we want to beat and we went so bloody close that the guys can be proud of themselves, especially after the way we turned this World Cup around after losing to Japan in the first game," the Bath openside flanker said.
"We made it this far, but that outlook is not good enough. We came here to win this thing and we haven't done that. That's as disappointing to us as it is to anyone else.
"It wasn't meant to be and rugby is a brutal game like that, so we have to take it on the chin.
"The young players in the team have a huge future and no doubt the Boks will produce going forward, but we're still coming to terms with losing to New Zealand.
"Unfortunately there are no second chances. We're playing for third or fourth place and we need to be strong for that.
"The bronze final a tough game to play in but we're a proud side and a proud nation so we need to finish strongly. We need to hang on for another week and then bow out.
"We wanted to win and tried to win, but didn't. There are a lot of positives we can take out of a game like this.
"This is definitely not the lowest we've felt. We gave it our all and New Zealand are a good side. They're our nemesis."
Louw, who wants his international future to continue beyond this World Cup, insists the seemingly unstoppable All Blacks should not take victory in the final for granted.
"Finals are not as easy as they look - just remember what how hard it was for New Zealand against France in 2011," Louw said.
"Whoever they face they'll be in for a big fight because those games do tend to pan out a little bit differently.
"They're the favourites regardless of who they play, but stranger things have happened in this World Cup."