Well-beaten All Blacks must not lose expectation levels, says Read
With yesterday's front page of the New Zealand Herald a typically dramatic blacked out image with the text "the All Blacks are out of the World Cup", the sense of a nation in mourning was inescapable.
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Their coach and captain struck a similar tone yesterday.
Only a little more than 12 hours after they had last met the media in a somewhat fraught session, the back-to-back champions were again facing up to a loss that will have greater repercussions than any other at this tournament.
"As an All Black, I appreciate the support we get from the country," said Kieran Read, who turned 34 on the day of what will be his last meaningful Test of a storied career.
"I feel if we didn't have it, it would feel a bit different.
"Next year I'm going to be one of those people - a fan - wanting the All Blacks to win. It's in our nature as New Zealanders.
"We've learned a lot potentially over the last dozen years or so about loss, perspective and what it means to be a fan. We as a nation are just passionate about little things we can do, because we are a little nation who punch above our weight.
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"We understand that's part of our job as All Blacks to achieve things. I'd hate to lose that expectation and all that comes with being an All Black."