Rugby World Cup John McFarland proud of South Africa display v New Zealand

Assistant coach John McFarland said South Africa can take great pride from their Rugby World Cup defeat to New Zealand.

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John McFarland has defended South Africa's tactics in the Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand after they were criticised for a perceived negative approach.

The Springboks' hopes of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup ended when they were beaten 20-18 in a bruising encounter at Twickenham on Saturday.

South Africa led 12-7 at half-time, but were unable to see off the defending champions and now face a battle for bronze with Argentina at the Olympic Stadium on Friday.

The Springboks were accused of a lack of attacking ambition against the All Blacks, but assistant coach McFarland said they can hold their heads up high.

"We had six set pieces in their half, two scrums and four lineouts and we won four out of six. They gave us 12 points but we just could not build on that pressure," he said.

"I thought the players did us proud. They gave everything and worked so hard. You only had to see the disappointment on their faces to see they gave everything.

"We were 12-7 up, the drop goal [from Dan Carter] was the turning point because it gave them hope. It was a match of small margins."

McFarland stressed that South Africa are determined to go out on a high note when they take on the Pumas, who were beaten by Australia at the semi-final stage.

He added: "It's the last test of the year and I'm looking forward to it. The players will be focused and treat it like a normal test game. We have given our hearts and souls to the Boks for the last six months, so third place would be acceptable.

"It's an important game. If we win we will finish third in the rankings and if Argentina win they will finish the year third in the rankings. I think the lads will turn up."

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