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.
Speaking to the media following the 31-33 West Country Challenge Cup defeat to Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his side's battling qualities in a bruising encounter but concerned about the injuries picked up.
The West Country Challenge Cup fixture against the Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol on Saturday (kick off 3pm) will be Gloucester's last chance to work on things like new combinations says Director of Rugby, David Humphreys.
Speaking after the 30-21 West Country Challenge Cup defeat at Bath, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke of the improvements his team are making as preseason progresses but acknowledges that there is still work to do ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership.
Speaking to the local media ahead of Saturday's trip to Bath Rugby in the West Country Challenge Cup, front rower Nick Wood spoke of the hard work put in across the extended preseason and highlighted the competition for front row spots in the squad.
Gloucester have named a 30 man squad for the latest round of West Country Challenge Cup action against Bath on Saturday, with Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressing the need to keep an eye on player workload ahead of what will be a long, tough season.
Describing the 50-7 West Country Challenge Cup win over Bath on Sunday as a '...good hit out...', wing Charlie Sharples admitted that it had been a good opportunity to put into practice things that the squad have been trying out in training in recent weeks.
Speaking to the local media after the 50-7 victory over Bath Rugby on Sunday, David Humphreys was happy with his squad's effort, with the most important aspect being the game time earned by his players.
Gloucester make wholesale changes to the side that started at Exeter last Saturday as they prepare to take on Bath at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol on Sunday in the West Country Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm). The Director of Rugby told GRTV that the players are raring to go and that he's looking forward to seeing different combinations in action.