Wellington - From politicians to punters, New Zealanders weighed in on the All Blacks Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat with theories ranging from coaching blunders to the curse of Richie McCaw.
The 19-7 loss to England in Yokohama shattered New Zealand's dream of a third consecutive World Cup, sparking a nationwide analysis of what went wrong.
Many callers to talkback radio suggested the result actually flattered the All Blacks who started as overwhelming favourites in the eyes of their supporters and ended up being thoroughly beaten.
"It's disappointing. We were outplayed. Rugby is our religion and that's why it hurts," Canterbury farmer Trevor Bradley said.
Parliamentary opposition leader Simon Bridges best summed up the mood with the one-word tweet "bugger" - a popular expression in New Zealand to express surprise or frustration at an unwanted occurrence.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took a supportive stance, saying "it might not have been our night, but this is our team and I'm proud of them".
The New Zealand Herald said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen "had a night to forget, quickly" and the surprise decision to play lock Scott Barrett at blindside flanker "did not pay off as expected".
Stuff.co.nz said the World Cup "was as good as lost from the opening kick-off" pointing to how the All Blacks "started cold and paid an instant price".
At the Four Kings bar in Wellington, English immigrant Phyllis blamed the All Blacks' mindset when they took the field.
"They needed to try harder, play with more passion like we usually do. We didn't have the passion. We've been in New Zealand 24 years, I love New Zealand but tonight I was really proud of England."
While police feared the possibility of violence, the only reported incident was at an English-themed bar in Auckland where the publican's Mini car, bedecked with a Union Jack, had its windows smashed.
Owner Mylam Sloan said he did not know for sure who was behind the vandalism but suspected upset All Blacks fans.
"You can assume someone has come out and seen the Union Jack on top of the car and didn't like what it expressed," he said.
"I can understand a lot of people get a bit aggrieved at the loss but it was a great game and you have to give it to the English for winning."
Some exasperated fans suggested double World Cup winning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw could be to blame because he was at the stadium watching the match.
McCaw has a history of being present at sporting events where New Zealanders have not performed up to expectations and when asked during the Rio Olympics if he was a bad luck charm, he said: "Perhaps I am... I might have to leave."
In Rio, McCaw was present when hot favourite Valerie Adams had to settle for second in the women's shot put, and he was also present for losses by the New Zealand men's and women's sevens rugby teams and the women's hockey team. Golfer Lydia Ko struggled through six holes while McCaw was in her gallery.
"You jinxed us again!" one person wrote on the Stuff.co.nz Facebook page.
"The McCaw curse strikes again!!!" said another.
NZ Herald columnist Chris Rattue saw positives in the defeat, saying it should rejuvenate the game in New Zealand.
"The drive to regain the World Cup stirs more passions than efforts to keep it, and it is from these very sorts of crashes that the All Blacks find new gears.
"A New Zealand side clinging on for a three-peat would have been tiresome quite frankly, and probably not even healthy for the game here."