The questions were perhaps redundant: what could the shattered All Blacks say after they had left so much on the field in their 12-11 Rugby World Cup final loss to South Africa?
Playing the majority of the match a man down after captain Sam Cane was red-carded in the first half, New Zealand were a hair's breadth from snatching the World Cup back from the defending champions.
But the All Blacks fell agonisingly short as their great rivals moved alone to the top of the tree with four titles to their name.
"To come within a whisker of pulling it off ... it's heartbreaking," New Zealand's outgoing coach Ian Foster said at the end of a pulsating and fluctuating clash.
"I'm proud of our guys, to go down to that red card so early and fight our way back and give ourselves a chance is pretty special.
"I don't think it went wrong in any clear (way), it was a real arm wrestle, both teams had their moments.
"I'm incredibly proud of the way we fought."
It was a titanic battle between the sport's two heavyweights.
Few could have expected New Zealand to come so close when their captain Cane was sent off after half an hour, penalised for a high tackle.
"It's gut-wrenching for him, frustrating for us," Foster said.
Gut-wrenching it was, Cane was distraught.
"I'm extremely gutted," he said, hollow with disappointment as he stood expressionless on the side of the Stade de France pitch as the Springboks celebrated their triumph.
"First of all that the guys had to play with 14 men for the last 50-odd minutes ... the courage they showed out here tonight was incredible, the whole team are absolute warriors."
Disappointed though he was, the 31-year-old was magnanimous in defeat.
"It's tough (but) I'd like to say well done to South Africa," he said.
"Back-to-back (champions), they have been a fantastic team.
"They have had a heck of a tough road to the final and time and time again they have shown a way to win."
Australian Associated Press