Now that some of the hurt has rescinded and the pain is not as raw as it was in the immediate aftermath of the defeat to England, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is better able to articulate his thoughts about where things went wrong for his team.
He gave an impassioned defence of his players after the game when their desire was questioned, and ended up making headlines of the sort he would not have enjoyed.
His captain, a man whom Hansen clearly feels hasn't been afforded the respect he should, looked like he was barely hanging on emotionally at the after-match press conference.
To see Kieran Read, the physical evidence of his effort visible in the bruising and cuts on his face, fight back the tears as he assured everyone the commitment from his team had been total, sent Hansen into lioness mode.
His cub was being attacked and he responded, protectively, emotionally and instinctively. His words he maybe regrets because they sparked a social media frenzy that left those not there thinking he'd asked a reporter outside for a fight, but not the intent.
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The success of Hansen's eight-year head coaching tenure was built on the bonds of trust and respect he forged with his players and his ability to give those outside the team an authentic appraisal of where things were at while managing to protect the dignity of those within.
He was true to his convictions in leaping to the defence of Read, but he's eager to explain more fully, less emotionally and with no social media hook to wrongly misrepresent his meaning, why he feels England played with the greater fervour.
"Look, we didn't lose against England because of the style of game we played," he says.
"I believe we lost because deep, deep, deep down in the pit of our guts, we didn't have what England had. That is no criticism of this group because they had a lot of want. They had a lot of hunger. But they have had no adversity and success will do that to you.
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"Success is a cruel companion because what happens is that you never feel the pain that comes with a real, big adversity. So now we have got some that is one positive to come out of this tournament: that for the next four years a large group of these players and management will still be here and will be carrying that pain.
"It will be personal and that will make whatever they want even more important. If you look at England, about two-thirds or more of their squad played in 2015 and that will have really, really hurt them. It will have been really personal pain that will have come out of that.
"To be bundled out of your own tournament without even making the quarter-finals was massive.
"When you understand that, I think you can understand why they were half an inch ahead of us all game. I really need people to understand that. It is not me saying we were not hungry, because we were.
"But we can't get [what they had]. If it's not their pain to carry and it is not personal to them. They have lost games. But losing a game in a tournament, this is why World Cups are so difficult to win because you don't get a second chance to redeem yourself.
"There is a lot of hard work and emotional energy [that] goes into trying to win it. When that happens it is great, but when it doesn't happen it can knock your socks off a bit and it then becomes personal and look out when it becomes personal."
Obviously, he'd rather this All Blacks team encountered their major adversity on the next coach's watch, but he's quickly made peace with the fact it happened on his.
He says he's been surprised at how well he's taken the loss and the destruction of the team's dream to make history by winning a third successive World Cup.
That's not to say he's found it easy, or that he's over it yet. The disappointment has still been intense, but he's realised that if he's been telling the world these past few days that the true test of someone's character is how they cope with defeat, then he needs to buy into his own philosophy.
"You have got to acknowledge to yourself that life is not fair and sport is even less fair," he says.
"So the fairy tale isn't happening. But I had a choice back at the end of 2015. And I had the same choice in 2017 to step away. But I didn't want to do that. I wanted to support this team and help this team achieve something we all desperately wanted.
"But it didn't work and you have got to come to realise at some point in your life pretty quickly that only one team can win it. Does that mean it is a complete failure? Feels like it at the moment.
"But we just lost to a team who on the day played better than we did. I don't necessarily think they are a better team, they just played better on the day than we did and that is sport."
There's a part of Hansen that is desperate to be able to be in a position to put things right: to use the personal pain of 2019 to try to take the team to new heights through to 2023.
But it's only a small part as, after 16 years with the All Blacks, he's ready to leave it all behind. He knows that one defeat will neither destroy nor define his career and so he can head into a new phase of his life without any need to endlessly torment himself about what happened in Yokohama.
His new life isn't mapped out yet, but it is full of possibilities, he says.
"First thing I am going to do is step away and have some time. There are some things on the table that are on offer.
"I have still got to clothe the children and feed Tash [his wife] and myself, so I will have to do something, but there is no point rushing into it.
"There is a lot of talk about me going to coach in Toyota but Simon Cron is coaching Toyota. What I do have on offer is to spend a little bit of time up there every year to support him and the club. There are no contracts signed regardless of what everyone is saying, it is not finalised.
"That's one of the things. There are also some people who have come to me and asked if I would give them a hand in other areas of life so I will just take my time. I won't be taking up a full-time coaching job."
What's also allowing him a level of contentment as he signs off is the knowledge he's lived up to the stated goal of leaving the team in a stronger state than he found it.
When he arrived as an assistant in 2004, the players were still plugged into the idea that epic drinking sessions were part of the deal.
They were also protective of their positions to the extent they often played for themselves and not the team.
Both those aspects have been eradicated in Hansen's time and the All Blacks are now a genuine high-performance team.
In the constant search for answers as to why the All Blacks have been successful in the past decade, there's no real need to go much past the evolution of professional standards and the transition to a team focused on the collective goal rather than influenced by individual desire.
"Where we have got to is in stark contrast to where we started," says Hansen. "In 2004 we still had the hangover of the amateur game and some of the things that came with that around drinking.
"It was a natural progression that we would have to do that better and after we came back from South Africa in 2004 it was decided what we needed to change and slowly but surely we have.
"That has been ably supported by the Super Rugby franchises back home who have got more professional and better at developing the athletes. So now you have got an athlete coming in who is more aware how to prepare themselves and how to be able to play rugby for a long time.
"They understand that there are some things you just don't do because it shortens your rugby career.
"Other things we have changed I guess are the give-nothing-to-your-teammate attitude. It was all about protecting your own right to the jersey and now we have got a squad that wants to play for each other and help each other.
"The hookers are a classic example of that. Dane Coles came in when Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore were around and benefited from them helping him. And then Codie [Taylor] came in and Keven and Colesy were around.
"You could say that across the team in all positions. There has been massive competition in the last few years in the midfield. We have had five world-class players competing for four positions, who have been supporting each other wonderfully well."
Hansen has made it clear he's not going to endorse anyone to replace him. He came to the job through an internal promotion, so obviously sees the merit of a succession plan.
But other than publicly lauding assistant Ian Foster as being in the coaching form of his career after the All Blacks destroyed Ireland in the quarter-final, Hansen has been careful not to give a definitive view on who he thinks should do the job next.
What he can offer, though, is the ultimate perspective on what the job demands and what sort of toll it can take.
"The head coaching job has changed," he says. "You have become more of a strategic planner and a manager of the players and staff. Once upon a time we didn't have as many staff as we do now.
"We run a relatively small group of staff in comparison. England have about eight or nine more than us that we know about. That makes it more important to select the right coaches to come with you.
"The more successful you are, the harder it is to get away from it, because there is a lot of scrutiny that comes with success and a lot of expectations which I wouldn't change for the world.
"The negative is that everybody is watching what you are doing, wants to know what you are doing and has got an opinion on what you are doing so you have got to deal with all of that.
"If you can't cope with that, you are in the wrong place. It is understanding what causes you as an individual to feel pressure and then putting some plans in place about how you are going to cope with that before it happens so when it does happen you can stay relatively calm.
"That doesn't mean to say you don't lose it occasionally, no human being could ever say they could do that. But it is a job that has a lot of pressure."
What the new coach will find in terms of playing resources and potential should help alleviate some of the pressure.
Even with Read, Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams and Matt Todd leaving, as well as forwards coach Mike Cron, Hansen is confident his successor will be inheriting a special group of players with considerable potential.
"I think that the group at this World Cup has been the best from a high-performance point of view," he says.
"They worked extremely hard on their rehab and prehab, on their upskilling of knowledge and skills. They have great awareness of what they need to do and how to do it. They have got a voice which I think is vitally important because at the end of the day it is them to play out there and they have to be strong enough to voice what they feel and think.
"So I think we will be leaving behind a group of men who understand the responsibilities they have to the jersey. They understand their legacy and all want their story in that jersey to be a positive one."