Geoff Parling admitted England let themselves down after their Grand Slam ambitions were wrecked by a 30-3 defeat at the Millennium Stadium.
Parling issued a frank assessment of England's shortcomings after they crashed to their worst ever defeat to Wales, losing a shot at both the Grand Slam and the Six Nations title.
"That was a massive opportunity lost," said Parling, the Leicester lock.
"How many people get an opportunity to win a Grand Slam? And we have lost the Six Nations too.
"We showed character in Dublin and France and this team has a lot of that - but when the really big one came around, we let ourselves down.
"We were beaten in all areas of the park. They got the better of us at the ruck and were more clinical with the ball. We didn't play well.
"It hurts. We are not going to look back at the last four games that we have won and be pleased after what has happened."
England were frustrated with the way referee Steve Walsh managed the breakdown and they ended up not competing for fear of conceding even more penalties.
But there was no hint of the players or management using that as an excuse, particularly given how dominant the Welsh forwards were in the scrum.
England withstood a first-half hammering to only trail 9-3 at the interval but their famed resilience eventually cracked and Wales ran up a record score with two tries from Alex Cuthbert.
It was England's heaviest defeat since Stuart Lancaster took charge.
"The best side won. They played better than us in every area," said captain Chris Robshaw.
"The guys are down and rightly so. We came here to win a Grand Slam and that is not what we came away with.
"It is tough. We went in at half-time 9-3 down and you are thinking it is game on.
"All of a sudden we are 15 points down and it unravelled. Being smashed 30-3 is tough to take."
When the squad gathered together on the field at the final whistle, the immediate message was that England must use this setback as motivation to improve.
Flanker Tom Croft said England had to bottle the feelings of disappointment and frustration until their next chance to shine in a decisive game.
"We need to learn from this. This is the first time this side has been in a position to win such a big tournament and we did not turn up on the day," Croft said.
"Fair play to Wales - they did turn up and played some great rugby and got the tries and capitalised on our errors. It hurts you.
"It's frustrating on our part. We talked about winning these landmark games on the way to the World Cup but we have come up short.
"We can work on this and make sure we continue on the upward curve. When we come to the autumn internationals or the next Six Nations we must make sure it does not happen again.
"We will make sure we will push on from this performance."
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