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.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).