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LEEDS, England (Reuters) - Canadian winger DTH Van Der Merwe said basic errors denied his team the Rugby World Cup victory over Italy that they had set their sights on.
"Through this whole World Cup campaign, it has been our target to take Italy down", man-of-the-match Van Der Merwe said after Saturday's agonizing 23-18 Pool D defeat in Leeds.
Van Der Merwe scored one of the tries of the tournament as the fearless Canadians ran Italy ragged for extended periods of the game only to be undone by wasted opportunities.
"It is the basic things that are going to let us down. Unfortunately, today we forced a few of those passes and we couldn't finish off," Van Der Merwe said.
Canada matched the two tries scored by Italy and had another disallowed because of a forward pass. In the end, the 13 points scored by Italy flyhalf Tommaso Allan proved the difference between the two well-matched teams.
"We always believe we can compete with teams like Italy; we've just got to learn to get over the line," Canada coach Kieran Crowley said.
"In the end we just weren't good enough and people pat us on the back for a brave performance. But that's not good enough for us; we wanted to win."
Canada picked up a losing bonus point to edge just above Romania at the bottom of Pool D, but they still need a big upset to secure the third place that will secure automatic qualification for the 2019 tournament.
"It is always good to build on something, but in a World Cup the building should be done," Van Der Merwe said.
"This is where it is going to count and we've let ourselves down a bit today. We can be proud of our efforts, but today we wanted to come away as victors."
(The story changes dateline)
Editing by David Goodman