Hurricanes coach Jason Holland has blasted his side for a poor second-half showing in their 35-29 Super Rugby Aotearoa defeat to the Chiefs on Saturday.
After an opening half blitz, the Hurricanes came out timid in the second stanza and the Chiefs ran in four unanswered tries, breaking their 11-game losing streak and sealing the Hurricanes' fourth straight defeat.
Holland was left perplexed post-game as he tried to unpack what happened after looking so dominant in the first half.
"I'm trying to get my head around it, to be honest," Holland says. "I feel it's one of the most disappointing games I've been involved with around how we threw that away."
The home side was cruising in the first half as they pounced on the visitor's mistakes, running in four tries of their own and looking in complete control.
"The boys in the first half were outstanding, as they did all the things we talked about," says Holland.
"Our set-piece went well, we had them under pressure and we finished it off with exactly what we've been working on during the week as we found some space that we thought would be there and the boys nailed it.
"Then for some reason, I think in that second half, we got bored of doing the right things and being dominant.
"I'll have to have a look at the footage but that's what it felt like. It felt like we could've grounded them into the floor with a couple of things but went away from that.
"We felt like that they weren't really threatening us first half so it's pretty gutting when you know that you threw it away."
Mistakes and poor tactical kicking crept into the Hurricanes' game after the break as Chiefs fullback Damien McKenzie stole the show with outstanding distribution when he moved into the first receiver role.
"We still had the foot on the gas in the second half, it was just the accuracy of what we were doing," Holland says. "When you give these boys a couple of easy outs, they grow another leg and then we come under the pump."
The 'Canes now have six days to dust themselves off before they travel down to Forsyth Barr Stadium to take on the Highlanders on Friday.
The Wellington-based side should get the timely addition of inspirational former skipper Dane Coles - his presence likely to make a huge difference.
Join us on Friday at 7pm for live updates of the Hurricanes up against the Highlanders