IT was heartbreak for England on Saturday night in Paris as South Africa's Handre Pollard kicked the match-winning penalty with two minutes to play to knock Steve Borthwick's side out of the Rugby World Cup at the semi-final stage. 

England had led throughout the game and frustrated the Springboks at every turn, dominating pretty much every facet of the contest.

But Pollard slotted a penalty from half-way in the 78th minute to seal a nail-biting 16-15 victory and book his side a spot in the final against New Zealand (Saturday, October 28). 

Worcester's Ollie Lawrence came on in the closing stages to try and help his side hold on to their narrow lead, but changes in the front-row for South Africa proved decisive, as they managed to get the upper hand in the scrum.

Worcester News: Ollie Lawrence came on for England late in the second-halfOllie Lawrence came on for England late in the second-half (Image: PA)

And it was, perhaps controversially, the scrum that produced the chance for Pollard to win it, which he stayed cool to convert.

Owen Farrell had kicked all 15 points for England, who lead right up until Pollard's penalty.

The fly-half kicked three penalties and slotted a monster drop-goal in the first-half to give Borthwick's men a 12-6 lead at the break.

Farrell added another in the second-half but RG Snyman barged over for the only try of the match in the 70th minute to set up a grandstand finish.

Referee Ben O'Keefe then rewarded the Springboks at the scrum in the dying minutes of the game, allowing Pollard to step-up and send his side to the final.

It was heartbreak for England, who had silenced plenty of doubters with their performance, and head coach Borthwick hopes his side can built on what they have done.

Worcester News: Ollie Lawrence consoled by friends, including former Worcester player Perry Humphreys, at full-timeOllie Lawrence consoled by friends, including former Worcester player Perry Humphreys, at full-time (Image: PA)

“We came here with a plan to win the game and we fell a little bit short, not far short but a little bit short, so we’re desperately disappointed,” said head coach Borthwick at full-time

“I think we all truly believed we could do it, we were going to do it, and we came very close to doing so.

“In adversity, in these tough times, there’s usually some seed of it there that will grow and be something brilliant in the future.

“Right now it’s too early for me to find that seed but we’ll make sure we find it.

“We’ll make sure that we take some of what we find tonight, some of what we’ve gone through tonight, we’ll make sure we grab that and we’ll make sure it makes us stronger in the future.”