Northland ended a frustrating weekend at the National Sevens Tournament in Queenstown with a 20-17 loss to Bay of Plenty in the bowl final.
Despite having looked good early on in the tournament, Northland failed to step up against stronger opposition.
Assistant coach Adriaan Ferris (pictured) said a hit-out against North Harbour before the tournament had left the team well prepared and feeling good.
"But that's sevens. You can be as prepared as you like but the bounce of the ball can go the other way," Ferris said.
"Our goal was to make the top eight , so we are a little disappointed with that.
"Teams with desire and passion step up [in finals] and we didn't do that. We weren't switched on."
Ferris said the coaches from Waikato and Counties Manukau had praised Northland on their structured game and thought they looked good.
"Looking good and winning are two different things, though. Sometimes you need to win ugly."
Ferris said next year Northland would look to take a team down that was better prepared to "win ugly".
Northland 15 Counties Manukau 12; Waikato 19 Northland 12; Wellington 24 Northland 19; Tasman 31 Northland 19; Northland 38 Mid Canterbury 5.
Bowl final: BOP 20 Northland 17.