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.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to confirm that 18 year old Mat Protheroe, a product of Hartpury College and one of the brightest young talents in the English game, has signed a senior contract at Kingsholm.
At the recent London Irish game, personnel from the Imjin Barracks in Innsworth, including Gurkhas, were present, holding a collection to raise funds for ShelterBox to aid relief from the recent Nepal Earthquake Appeal.