Stand-in All Black skipper Keven Mealamu lamented his side's inability to finish off the opportunities that they created against the Springboks in their 5-18 Tri-Nations loss in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The World Cup hosts were defeated for the first time this year by a desperate Springbok team who threw absolutely everything at the depleted outfit from New Zealand and managed to maintain a high intensity throughout the match.
Mealamu refused to hide behind the excuse that his team was missing certain first-choice players and explained that they had done themselves no favours by battling to turn the pressure they created into points.
He said: "I think there was a lot of belief in this squad and there were huge opportunities out there.
"We are very disappointed, we had a lot of opportunties there in the first half and a few in the second half. It is just a real shame we couldn't execute and turn those opportunities into points," added the physical hooker.
Mealamu said that despite the obvious disappointment of losing, there were a number of positives that the All Blacks can take into the Tri-Nations decider against the Wallabies next weekend.
"We were just so close to turning that scoreboard around, we had about four opportunities in the first half but just couldn't hold on to the ball and a couple more in the second half so we have got a lot of belief in the team and there are a lot of positives we can take out of this," he commented.
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