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All Blacks 'hurting' in wake of rare defeat

Published: 5:34PM Sunday December 02, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

There were no excuses being offered up from the All Blacks camp in the wake of their shock 38-21 loss to England at Twickenham today.

Disappointed All Blacks coach Steve Hansen paid credit to England's inspired performance and acknowledged his men fell short in their season-ending clash.

"What we saw tonight was a really good game of rugby from an English team and an All Black side that was proud enough and strong enough to be able to keep hanging in there but we just didn't hang in good enough," was Hansen's assessment at the post-match media conference.

"We didn't score enough points so we got beaten on the day by a better team."

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw felt the hosts played a clinical game, applying pressure and taking points regularly, beginning with a strong and physical forward effort at the breakdown.

"I think we, especially in the first half, lost the contact," McCaw conceded.

"They put pressure on us, forced us into mistakes and they kept the scoreboard ticking over. That was probably the main area to be honest but it was a lot of little areas that let us down.

"They took their opportunities and I think that's what Test matches, big games, it's about taking the chances when they're on offer. They had a couple and they took them and that made it a pretty tough game from there."

Dan Carter, for so long the epitome of All Blacks excellence, did not downplay his disappointment after what had to be his worst showing in a stellar 94-Test 10-year career.

"Basically, there's no excuses tonight," Carter offered ONE Sport. "We didn't perform and I think by the look of the changing room, it's hurting."

Carter, who was unable to dictate terms in his usual manner after being crowded for space and time by the England defence, touched on the All Blacks failure to meet their own high standards and the difficulty in overcoming the unfamiliar and bitter taste of defeat.

"A lot of those players including the young guys are not used to a loss, so as long as they remember these moments and learn from it, and never want it to happen again," said Carter, searching for positives.

Carter will have no trouble long recalling this game, the result following two missed penalties and an ineffective tackle on a rampaging Manu Tuilgai, as the England midfielder bustled his way toward the line for his side's first try.

"The set-piece ball that they were creating really gave the likes of Tuilgai, who's a very strong ball-carrier, to get over the gain line and get them moving forward and I thought they did that extremely well tonight."

His thoughts were echoed by hooker Keven Mealamu, while No. 8 Kieran Read paid tribute to the better team, before adding that the All Blacks should not beat themselves up too much over the loss.

"The way they contested at the ruck they were able to slow our ball down and that just meant we were playing behind the gain-line a bit," Mealamu said.

"We've just got to be humble and say that they are the better side today and they definitely deserved the win but we've still got to keep our heads up," said Read.

"You know, it was a pretty good year from us."