Dealing with losses has been something rugged Taranaki lock Jarrad Hoeata has had to get used to in 2013.
A disastrous Super Rugby season with the Highlanders, which netted just three wins from 16 matches, has been followed by two opening defeats for Taranaki in the NPC.
Throw in a handful of on and off-field yellow cards and you would expect Hoeata to cut a forlorn figure. Quite the opposite, in fact.
The 30-year-old who is the senior pro in the Taranaki squad with 63 appearances remains upbeat about his side's prospects, brushes off criticism of the forward pack, while he couldn't wait to get to Invercargill to front up to a few "old mates" running around with a Stag on the front of their jerseys.
"A lot of my mates who have played a lot of footy with me here have gone, so I look at it as a totally new challenge," he said.
"There was eight of us in the leadership group last year and I'm the only one left. I have found myself having to talk a lot more and the thing I've really noticed is we used to come back and everyone knew what to do, we were all on the same page. We couldn't do that this year."
Not that the three-test All Black was using that as an excuse for Taranaki's poor early season form, he's just realistic about how tough things are after the heart of a side has been taken out.
He also knows some senior men have to lift their game and, cliche or not, lead by example.
That was not always evident against Canterbury and Wellington and if some players make it a trifecta against Southland, then the criticism will only grow louder.
"We have played who I think are the two best teams," Hoeata said in defence.
"It's been a huge learning curve after we got a bit of false hope in the pre-season, beating Waikato quite comfortably."
He believed once the forward pack came up to speed with its set piece, collectively they could bring a stronger attitude to their play.
As for his perceived lack of discipline, Hoeata felt he had come in for some harsh treatment by officials.
"I do a little bit but that does come with the way I play, I guess. I do bring it on myself but I make no apologies, that's how I play."
- © Fairfax NZ News