England’s rugby team have been labelled “sore losers” after they refused to wear their World Cup runners-up medals.
Eddie Jones’ side were left battered and bruised after a heartbreaking 32-12 defeat to South Africa last night.
But as praise was heaped on South African captain Siya Kolisi for his inspirational speech about uniting his troubled nation, many have turned on the English for their lack of composure post-match.
Some of the squad sparked fury among fans when they immediately took their medals off while still on the pitch. Saracens flanker Maro Itoje even refused to put the medal over his head.
The deflated squad then watched on as Siya Kolisi became the first black captain to lift the Rugby World Cup trophy.
“We’ve faced a lot of challenges but the people of South Africa have got behind us,” Kolisi said.
“We have so many problems in our country but to have a team like this, we come from different backgrounds, different races but we came together with one goal.
“I really hope that we can show South Africa when we pull together, we can achieve anything.”
Jones, who was filmed taking off his medal after receiving it, went on to praise the Springboks for their third World Cup title, describing them as “worthy winners”.
“The silver medal is not as good as the gold medal, but it is a silver medal and I am proud of my players,” he said.
Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan took to Twitter to defend the side’s actions.
“Totally understand why some England players took off there (sic) 2nd place medal … Finals are all about winning,” he posted.
But English fans across social media were disappointed with their side.
“A game well played but the England players immediately taking off their medals is hugely disrespectful,” one posted.
Another claimed: “England are now acting like spoiled children taking off their medals, so RUDE. Why embarrass themselves and us like that?”
And one shocked fan wrote: “Why didn’t England wear their medals? Makes them look like poor losers. Lose and behave graciously and well if you can’t win.”