That was just a dreadful, rudderless performance by England who looked worse yesterday than they did when they started this awful autumn.
At least they created opportunities and showed spirit against New Zealand, but since then their supporters have had to endure the sight of their team folding up in front of their eyes.
The coaching structure under Andy Robinson cannot be allowed to continue in its present form. Either he has to go altogether or return to coaching the forwards and relinquish the management responsibilities to Rob Andrew.
And England's forwards could certainly do with coaching because one of the most worrying aspects of yesterday's defeat was the performance of the pack, who seem to have entirely lost their ability to dominate. They were not cleaning out and didn't seem to know how to produce quick ball. They daren't go into the Six Nations in two months' time with their forwards lacking in so many areas otherwise there are more humiliating times ahead. The team's inside defence was almost non-existent and they were shown up on occasions.
England's only hope is to go back to the tight gameplan that once worked for them. Perhaps then they will recapture the strength for which they were once feared.
It wasn't just a case of lacking fluency and crispness. The silly passes they threw, the way they so easily lost patience and their lack of depth was sad to witness. The only attacking ploy they seemed to possess was the hanging crossfield kick. It wasn't how their try came, but then it should not have been allowed anyway.
This is by no means a good South African team but they played much better and were far sharper with the ball in hand. In Andre Pretorius they had a player who could read the game and his four drop goals showed the instinct and awareness to be able to grab points when they were available.
England, having given themselves a 14-3 lead, hardly looked like scoring again and when an odd chance came they threw a bad pass or dropped the ball.
One of England's main problems this autumn has been a lack of leadership on the field. There has been no game-control from half-back and Martin Corry has not been able to exert any of the guidance you would expect from a captain.
Corry is a good player, and he did not play badly yesterday, but he tends to get so involved and preoccupied with his own contribution that he's not able to inspire those around him.
With no steadying influence, England have lacked composure and so they have been liable to panic and to rush things.
There's just no confidence coming from a squad who appear to be living on their nerves. And when there's no confidence errors are bound to occur and they miss kicks, fall off tackles and shy away from committing themselves to anything creative.
You have the strange position that players who are playing well at club level just don't feel comfortable enough to reproduce that form for England. The pressure cooker they have been in has turned them into a team scared of losing and when your main ambition is to avoid defeat there's not much you can achieve.
The situation is crying out for a calm head and I thought Andy Goode was the sort of player who could do the simple things well and bring an efficiency that would allow the team slowly to build up their belief in each other but his confidence drained from him.
What remedy can Robinson provide? I believe he is a good coach but he is far from a good manager. His tactics and his game appreciation leave a lot to be desired and some of the decisions he has made - those involving Henry Paul, Mathew Tait and, more recently, Charlie Hodgson - cannot have helped morale.
He badly needs the help of someone who can oversee England's tactical approach and who better than Rob Andrew, who is already in place? He could relieve Robinson of that chore without a massive upheaval they don't have time for. What was obvious before is now screaming out to be done.Reuse content