Follow live as the All Blacks respond after shock 19-7 defeat to England in the Rugby World Cup semifinal.
A despondent mood descended over the All Blacks as the reality of their Rugby World Cup failure began to hit home.
No one will take the 19-7 defeat to England harder than the players themselves.
After four years of work, their dreams were derailed in one 80 minute performance and, specifically, by England’s ruthless physicality.
Emotions were still raw as the All Blacks fronted to dissect what went so wrong in Yokohama.
All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith summed up the mood.
“I’m very disappointed, still a bit shocked, but full credit to England they had a plan and they executed it,” Smith said.
“It’s a big year and we had a few years preparation for this tournament. I don’t know what to say… you feel like you’ve let everyone down.
“I’m really gutted for New Zealand and gutted for the guys leaving. It’s really disappointing. High performance sport isn’t fair and we fell on the end of that stick tonight.”
It wasn’t just the result but England’s dominance in every aspect – from the lineout to the breakdown and the collisions that left the All Blacks so deflated.
George Bridge, attending his first World Cup, wasn’t alone in speaking with a lump in his throat.
“It’s gutting,” Bridge said. “Our goal was going through to next week. We came up short so we’ve got to give credit to England, they were unreal and pretty much beat us in all facets of the game tonight.
“That’s what hurts, that we were pretty well dominated. You look at the boys in the shed and just how much we all care and how disappointed we are. The effort was there tonight but mentally and skillfully we just weren’t quite there tonight.
“Everyone is hurting so we’ve got to get around each other.”
Codie Taylor couldn’t help but feel for Kieran Read, the All Blacks skipper who signs off after this tournament.
Read was visibly devastated at the post-match press conference, having returned from back surgery with the driven goal of leading his team to glory in Japan.
“You can see it on his face, it really hurts,” Taylor said. “He’s a great captain and he’s a great leader. He puts out 80 minutes every week and never takes a backward step. He’s either bleeding or limping every time he comes off the field that’s all you can ask for from a captain. I’m proud I got the opportunity to play with him.
“There’s a lot of slow jams going on at the moment… it’s pretty bleak. It hurts for the people that probably won’t pull the jersey on again post next week. I’m gutted we couldn’t get the job done for those groups of men.”
After a torrid night tackling Manu Tuilagi on the charge, Anton Lienert-Brown believes the All Blacks will now pick themselves up for the third and fourth playoff next week.
“We’re not leaving just yet. We’ve got one more game but obviously it’s gutting. We came here to win the World Cup so to fall short is gut-wrenching,” Lienert-Brown said.
“That’s part of playing sport, you can’t win them all. We were beaten by a better team tonight.
“Everyone in this team sets high standards. I know it’s not where we want to be but this hurts and generally when it hurts it means we hit back hard. I know the individuals in this team will get up for this next game. We want to do our nation proud.”