Watch: All the moments the All Blacks remained proud after gutwrenching loss to Springboks
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Rock News

Watch: All the moments the All Blacks remained proud after gutwrenching loss to Springboks

"It'll never be over".

The fellas fought hard and came close but could not overcome a huge battle and take home the Rugby World Cup. 

With a score of 12 - 11, South Africa became champions and the All Blacks were literally and spiritually defeated. 

After the match, obscenities were muttered throughout New Zealand's otherwise silent living rooms but the players, coaches and fans who got out of the house had plenty to say about the game. 

In a viral video, the All Blacks are solemnly sitting in the locker room after the game. It says a lot. Eventually, press conferences and media interviews arrived and the players managed to share their thoughts. 

Aaron Smith

That was Aaron Smith’s last game for his country. He admitted the match was “tough” but shares he would not have wanted his career to go any differently. 

"I'm just grateful for my time in the jersey," he told Newshub. "I've loved every minute.”

"I'll look back with no regrets - I've given everything I think I could have. There's nothing better than representing your country, wearing the black jersey.”

"It'll never be over," he continued. "Whenever the boys play, I can say I'm in that brotherhood.”

Sam Cane

Captain Sam Cane - who was given a first-half red card - was distraught. 

“So much hurt right now," he said. "It's actually hard to find the words to explain it.”

"It's hard because you're feeling so much hurt, but at the same time, you're proud of the group and how they fought back, and really gave themselves a good shot at winning that game.”

"I think it speaks volumes for the group as a whole. They're a fantastic group of men, who care so much about playing for the All Blacks, who care so much about making New Zealand proud.”

Beauden Barrett

Beauden Barrett loved that despite being shorthanded, the fellas put on a show. 

“Super, super proud of the effort - the way we played with 14 men for a long period of that game," he told Virgin Media. "We certainly gave ourselves a chance. Unfortunately, it came down to a decision here or there and ultimately they came away with it.”

“It’s just gutting because we actually felt really good at half-time. We believed the whole way through that game. We played with the belief that we had 15 on the field.”

Ian Foster

Ian ‘Fozzy’ Foster is now retired. He delivered some inspiring and poignant quotes about his legacy and what he’ll miss. 

“Everyone in the country has a different filter of how they view you," he shared. "They've got a filter where they didn't want you in the first place, so they filter everything you do based on that. That's OK.”

"For me, my role as All Black head coach is to do the best I can and give everything to the job with the group I've been given in the circumstances.”

Watch: All the moments the All Blacks remained proud after gutwrenching loss to Springboks Credit: David Ramos/World Rugby via Getty Images.

"I'm going to go to bed with a smile on my face, and a sense of satisfaction, but a hole of not achieving the final goal. I'll leave the rest to others. If I get remembered from within the group as someone who cared and united this group, then I'll take that."

"Seeing young men grow, and young men have to deal with the same pressure that I get put under, that they get put under, learning how to help people grow through that. They'll be the things that I one hundred percent will miss the most."

Jason Ryan

Assistant coach Jason Ryan said that the hardest part was seeing the emotions of the players that won’t be returning. 

"I just feel for the boys," he said. "You can see them in the shed, taking their jerseys off for the last time - that's tough.”

“Brodie, Colesy, Sammy Whitelock... they're immortals of the All Blacks and they're great New Zealanders. It's tough for them, but we move on, don't we?”

"That's sport. I love them."

Fans at the match were quite hot-tempered after the 80 minutes, not happy with referee Wayne Barnes. However, some others there and around the world were more level-headed. 

“It must have been awful to watch at home,” one told RNZ, citing how close it was.

“I feel gutted,” said one who watched on Eden Park’s big screens. “I think we did really well to play with 14 players and keep them out for 40 minutes.”

“Jordie Barret,” another Eden Parker shared. “I still love you bro. Got your back to the end bro.”

In his Southland hometown, front rower Ethan De Groot had a whole fan club cheering him on. 

"To play with 14 men for pretty much 70 minutes was unbelievable - to know the effort he has put in and to get to where he is today, I'm gutted for him," Groot’s old coach Mark Crosby told 1 News

"All us boys back here in little old Invercargill, we’re proud of you, mate - you’ve done a top job," friend and Southland Stags Hooker Jacob Payne added. 

Jason Ryan was right: Losing is sports. We’ll get another chance in four years but it will suck until then.

NZ is massively proud of the boys and here’s hoping we smash the competition next time around.