Cape Town - The deep, long, frustrated sigh from Chris Boyd was more than enough to summarise exactly how an entire city felt after the Wellington Hurricanes were beaten 21-14 by the Otago Highlanders in the Super Rugby final on Saturday.
The home town Hurricanes had set the pace for the entire Super Rugby season with a clinical, yet breathtakingly exciting style of play that propelled them to 14 regular season wins and a home final in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 36 000.
On several occasions, the Hurricanes had won games they probably should not have, but somehow did.
In the final, just their second in 20 seasons of Super Rugby and the game that counted the most, they lost a match they probably should have won given the number of opportunities they had to score at crucial times.
Passes out of tackles that went to hand during the season on Saturday went instead to a Highlanders player or were spilled forward.
The clean out and delivery of quick ball at the breakdown, so efficient for much of the season, was lacking.
Time and again on Saturday the Highlanders turned the ball over or the Hurricanes were penalised by referee Jaco Peyper for not releasing or other infringements.
In the end, the totality of those errors was what really counted, and why the Hurricanes coach Boyd could only sigh with a slight shrug of his shoulders and shake of his head.
"We have played pretty reasonable football for most of the year but probably didn't get the game going that we wanted to, made too many mistakes and didn't respect the ball," Boyd told reporters.
"The number of mistakes we made, some under pressure from the Highlanders, but mostly the number of execution errors we made was uncharacteristic."
While the Hurricanes failed to exert any scoreboard pressure in the first half due to some wayward goal kicking from flyhalf Beauden Barrett, a missed try by winger Julian Savea in the second half was a microcosm of their entire performance.
Savea was in the clear with the line open in the 62nd minute but was thrown a wayward pass byBrad Shields and the All Blacks winger was unable to haul in the ball as it dropped behind his back.
With the score 18-11 to the Highlanders at the time, a try then could have turned the game after the visitors had been under immense pressure from the home side.
"I think that was a little symptomatic of the whole game, for some reason we were just a little off," Boyd said.
"We just couldn't hold on to the ball for enough phases to get us to the edge and start playing our game.
"It was frustrating because we were just getting going and then we coughed it up.
"It's a massive waste of an opportunity."