All Blacks captain Kieran Read has reflected on the emotion running through the All Blacks' camp following their exit from the Rugby World Cup, saying they were being "true to themselves".
The 19-7 loss to England in the semi-finals was New Zealand's first loss at a World Cup since 2007, ending their quest for a Webb Ellis Cup trifecta.
- Emotional All Blacks show it's okay to cry after semi-final exit
- All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's emotional post-defeat phone call
- Emotional Aaron Smith says All Blacks' dressing room 'like a funeral' after England defeat
Halfback Aaron Smith said there were lots of tears in the dressing room afterwards, which was "like a funeral", and even coach Steve Hansen was struggling to hold back the tears as he reflected on the crushing defeat.
Hooker Dane Coles also broke down in a media conference, while playmaker Richie Mo'unga described the loss as the "toughest" during his short rugby career.
Speaking to The Project's Patrick Gower at Auckland Airport on Tuesday, Read said it was important to show they were hurting, just like their fans.
"It just seemed right, because it was hard," Read said. "We couldn't not front that."
Also speaking from the airport on Tuesday, outgoing coach Steve Hansen highlighted New Zealand's horrific mental health statistics.
"It's not great," he said. "Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and show emotion I think is really important.
"We get called role models - if people want to call us role models, I think it's great that these guys are modelling the fact that you can be emotional, and you can be vulnerable."