Salivating English rugby scribes and the echo of Queen's 'We Are The Champions' from the concourse were part of the unpalatable feast rammed down the All Blacks' throats at Twickenham.'
Bad enough being outplayed by the English backs, but the aftermath of this 38-21 loss will be equally as difficult to digest for the All Blacks as they disassemble today.
Dan Carter has urged his teammates not to move on too quickly. In fact, the first five-eighth said they should force themselves to examine what went wrong.
"Because it's the last game of the season it could be quite easy to brush over it and have a lot of excuses," he said. "Basically we have no excuses tonight. We didn't perform and by the look of the changing room it's really hurting."
For many of the younger All Blacks it was their first taste of defeat in a test and Carter said it would make them better players provided they took on board the lessons of defeat.
"The young guys who aren't used to a loss, as long as they remember these moments they will learn from it, and they will never want it to happen again."
Carter was among the All Blacks to have an off day, missing two penalties and a glaring tackle on Manu Tuilagi.
He said the missed tackle had nothing to do with the tight Achilles that kept him out of the test against Wales and limited his role in training last week.
He could not explain his two miscues, saying he had been "nailing everything" at the captain's run the previous day.
Carter's initial conclusions were that the All Blacks were out-muscled up front, and should have returned more kicks rather than running into an excellent English chase line.
And he admitted their backs had caught him off guard with the quality of their attack, something they were not renowned for.
But more than anything, he felt the home team just had a greater desire to win, something that irked the mercurial playmaker more than anything.
"You have to give credit to the English side. It's been a long season but that's no excuse. We'd had a light week physically, so it was more the mental side of things that wasn't quite there ... mentally we had to step up after a light week and we didn't do that. England wanted it more than us and it showed by the way they played."
There's little doubt the All Blacks fell into the trap of believing things would happen and perhaps they were affected by the English press, who spent last week asking if they were the greatest side ever to play rugby.
Today, they will be portraying Stuart Lancaster's team as the mighty dragon slayers and at the post-match press conference there was already talk of winning the 2015 World Cup.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen felt compelled to correct one scribe, who suggested a potential World Cup-winning side had been on the field.
"I think there were two potential winners," Hansen said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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