Highlanders full-back Ben Smith lamented his side's second-half performance after they lost 41-5 to the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
Leading only 10-8 at half-time, the champion 'Canes scored five tries following the turnaround as the Highlanders were given a hard lesson.
It was the Highlanders' third loss of 2017 from their opening four games and it has subsequently left them 14 points off the in-form Chiefs.
"I think we played some good rugby in the first half but in the second half we probably just didn’t take our opportunities," said a hugely disappointed Smith when speaking to Fox Sports following the result at Westpac Stadium.
"Mistakes crept in and we couldn’t put that pressure on.
"They forced the errors that we made and they feed off peoples' errors and really punish teams."