The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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My boys were in tears: Simons

Durban: South African coach Eric Simons admitted on Tuesday that the team broke down in tears after they were dumped out of the World Cup. South Africa, who began the tournament as one of favourites, were eliminated when their crucial day-night match against Sri Lanka at Kingsmead on Monday ended in a rain-affected tie.

“There were tears in that dressing room,” Simons told the SAPA news agency. “I think everyone is experiencing a rollercoaster of different emotions. It’s going to be a long, difficult trip home and it’s going to take a while for it all to settle in. At the moment I’m almost angry at the way it has all turned out.”

Simons added that he has no intention of stepping down as coach but could understand the fans’ frustrations at once again seeing their World Cup hopes disappear in the most cruel of circumstances.

In 1992, they were denied a semi-final win in Sydney by rain, while their 1999 semi-final against Australia also ended in a tie before they were eliminated due to their poor Super Six placing.

“The guys were saying that it simply can’t happen again,” said Simons, who conceded that he hardly slept the night before. “There was this sense that it couldn’t be decided by a tie again.”

He said he was aware that the huge expectations that came with hosting cricket’s premier competition might lead for calls of some bloodletting.

“People are always looking to blame things on and I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see,” Simons said. “I’m not going to wak away from the job. The powers-that-be must decide whether or not we did a good job and I’d like to believe that we did.”

Simons also expressed the hope that Shaun Pollock would not step down as captain after facing a barrage of criticism.

“I’d be extremely disappointed if Shaun went. But I don’t think he would. Shaun’s the kind of bloke who will take something like this on the chin.”

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