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Schalk Burger: "I've seen this movie before and it's horrible"

Published 24/10/2015

Schalk Burger, pictured, shoulder responsibility for South Africa's 20-18 World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand
Schalk Burger, pictured, shoulder responsibility for South Africa's 20-18 World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand

Schalk Burger shouldered the responsibility for South Africa's World Cup exit, admitting he handed the All Blacks their 20-18 semi-final victory.

New Zealand edged out the Springboks at a rain-swept Twickenham, Burger losing possession before Beauden Barrett raced home the decisive score.

Head coach Heyneke Meyer refused to address his future with the Springboks, instead insisting merely shrugging shoulders in defeat would represent "loser talk".

The South Africa boss admitted contesting the World Cup's third-place play-off instead of the final would feel "like kissing your sister".

"We lost too many lineouts and that certainly didn't help, it created pressure and made us defend more," said Burger.

"But there were so many variables and other mistakes. One was me carrying and losing the ball in our own 22: they scored seven points directly from that and that turned the match.

"It's not only the lineouts, that was my mistake. We created opportunities today, unfortunately we couldn't take them.

"I've seen this movie before and it's bloody horrible."

Springboks boss Meyer told journalists "you'll have to ask SA Rugby" when quizzed on whether he had been offered a new contract.

Refusing to discuss his future, Meyer said: "Can't you see how grey I am?

"I've just said I'm here to serve and whatever it takes. I really believe I can do it. I'm always there to serve.

"I wanted to make the country proud and we weren't quite able to do it.

"I really believe this team can go places.

"I think this can be one of the best teams in the world going forward.

"But you have to take tonight on the chin.

"I gave it everything I've got, it wasn't good enough.

"I take it personally.

"It's been a huge honour, I'll always serve my country that's how I've seen it from the start.

"And I'll take it day by day from here.

"The third-place play-off doesn't mean anything, it's like kissing your sister. I don't want to think about loser talk.

"I'm very proud: I don't think a lot of people gave us any chance after defeat to Japan.

"We've grown as a team and the youngsters really matured.

"Only a win is good enough, I don't believe in loser talk. Coming close and not winning will never be good enough for me.

"We had a chance today, we should have taken it and we should be in the final.

"I'm proud of the guys today, but I'll never be happy with second-best."

Bacterial meningitis nearly cost gritty Springboks flanker his life two years ago. Despite the pain of defeat the 32-year-old vowed to find future comforts in his ability to fight back into the sport.

"Two years ago it wasn't really possible for me to play in a semi," said Burger.

"But the last 18 months I've been playing really nicely so it's really nice to be in a semi-final.

"It's painful tonight but one day when I'm older I'll be able to reflect and say it was an amazing comeback.

"I'd just want to say a big thanks to our Springboks team, some times in life you just don't win."

Meyer backed South Africa's fast-improving young stars Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende and locks Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager to be world titans in four years' time.

"A lot of these guys will be the Carters of tomorrow, and they will be the world-beaters of the future," said Meyer.

"Very very proud, but I think those guys will go on to be some of the best players ever to play the game - and that makes me very proud."

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