If any New Zealand sporting outfit can understand the position Team New Zealand are in it's the All Blacks, and coach Steve Hansen said he felt "sorry for them'' after they were beaten by Oracle in the final race of the America's Cup this morning.
Team New Zealand were on the wrong end of one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history after they saw their 8-1 lead overrun by Oracle, who retained the Auld Mug 9-8 in dramatic circumstances.
Hansen, who is in La Plata ahead of Sunday's Rugby Championship match against Argentina, said he felt for Team New Zealand.
"It's disappointing. We feel sorry for them,'' he said.
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The All Blacks have seen their own campaigns end in disappointment, most notably the World Cups between 1991-2007, before famously delivering a second World Cup in 2011.
"It's gutting,'' Hansen said after this morning's race in San Francisco. "You can only imagine how they're feeling and I think it's really important that we put it in perspective.
"We are a little nation, you look at the budgets that both teams had and just with extra time, the USA Oracle team has worked wonders with their boat. And the [New Zealand] guys, we've just seen them sail a great race but you can't help it if you're driving a Ferrari versus a great Ford Mustang.
"The Ferrari's going to win and that's what we've seen and I don't think we can do anything but be proud of our guys.
"For 18 days, we've been in a contest and we've gotten within one race of winning it and with a wee bit of luck, they probably would have. But the more time Oracle had, obviously the faster their boat's gone and you can only put that down to making a better boat because both crews were brilliant today and our guys gave everything.
"They just didn't have a fast enough boat and when you don't have a fast enough boat, you're not going to win.''