Hurricanes skipper Conrad Smith insists the team has a lot to be proud of despite falling at the final hurdle in Super Rugby.
After winning 14 games from 16 during the regular season, equalling the Super Rugby record, the Hurricanes went down 21-14 at home to the Highlanders.
The visitors led throughout, scoring two tries through Elliot Dixon and Waisake Naholo to claim their first title, with the Hurricanes crossing just once through Ma'a Nonu.
It marked Smith's final game for the Hurricanes before a move to Pau next season, and he admitted it was disappointing to go out on a loss.
"It's all pretty raw at the moment," he said after the game.
"I'm gutted for management, the players, the club because we deserved better than this.
"But at times like this I always try and keep perspective on things and I know I'll be trying to get the guys to lift their heads because there's a lot to be proud of and it's a game of footy, we lost; that's all it is.
"If this is my biggest disappointment in life then I think I'll be pretty happy when I'm an old man.
"I don't think I'll be one to look back on games of rugby and get too hung up on them."
Having spent much of the season using their fast-paced offloading game to beat teams, the Hurricanes paid the price for some uncharacteristic handling errors at crucial times, and coach Chris Boyd felt that was the difference between the teams.
"We wanted to play at tempo because we thought their legs would go after the back end of their season," Boyd said.
"But we just couldn't quite hang on to the ball for enough phases to get us to the edge and start playing our game. So it was a frustrating day because we'd just get going then cough the ball up."