Even in defeat, English sport still gives us much to cheer | Emma John

A new emphasis on team spirit rather than great individuals is paying dividends

England rugby fans know what to expect. Yesterday’s result in Yokohama is going to hurt for a while yet, much like the bruises that the South African forwards left all over Elliot Daly’s body. However magnanimously we praise the Springboks’ performance, those of us who devote our lives to following England’s sporting teams will still be waking up to the cold, clammy thought of “what if” for at least the rest of the week.

It can be hard to see the positives. And yet, with a little perspective, England’s sporting teams have never looked so healthy. Two World Cup final appearances in the same year is an achievement well worth celebrating on its own; the England cricket team’s victory at Lord’s was the first of its kind, while our footballers are in the best form in more than a couple of generations.

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