England's tour of New Zealand, which had seen so many positives, ended on a low note in Hamilton on Saturday morning with a 36-13 defeat to the All Blacks.
After narrow defeats in the first two Tests, hope sprung eternal for Stuart Lancaster's side, but their ambitions were cruelly squashed in the game's first half.
England were at sixes and sevens defensively during that period, particularly in midfield where Billy Twelvetrees' organizational skills appeared to be missed, and New Zealand ran in four tries before half time.
England regrouped after half time, and the second half was drawn with seven points for each side. But the brutal truth was that the game was already lost.
Freddie Burns had an early chance to give England the lead, but dragged a penalty attempt wide. New Zealand promptly scored through Julian Savea at the other end.
Burns, in his last game as a Gloucester player, did narrow the gap with a penalty. However, Aaron Cruden caught Kyle Eastmond wanting in defence and put Savea in for his second.
Cruden and Burns subsequently swapped penalties, before Cory Jane brushed aside Marland Yarde to put Aaron Smith over. And the scrum half was soon in for his second try after yet more weak defence.
Yarde muscled his way over early in the second half, and England did threaten on several other occasions but just couldn't get over the line.
Perhaps fittingly, Savea completed his hat trick with the last play of the game but, once again, weak tackling contributed hugely to the try.
Gloucester will field a reshuffled side against the Ospreys in the LV= Cup this weekend, but Backs & Attack Coach Nick Walshe stressed that it's a great opportunity for everyone on duty on Saturday and that maintaining the recent winning run is very important.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees told GRTV after the win in Brive that the game could have been a tough one to get up for, but that his Gloucester team mates did themselves proud on the night and got a big result.
Reflecting on the 31-20 victory in Brive on Thursday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys said that clinching a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final was the overall aim and duly achieved.
Gloucester may have already clinched a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys wants his side to finish the pool stages on a winning note in Brive on Thursday evening.
Speaking after Saturday's win, James Hudson was happy to record a bonus-point win against a hugely physical Oyonnax side as Gloucester secured their passage into the European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Finals
Gloucester Rugby have added to their front row strength in depth for next season with the signings of Paul Doran-Jones, Paddy McAllister and Nicky Thomas from Harlequins, Aurillac and the Ospreys respectively.