New Zealand coach Graham Henry says his players will be "scarred for life" by their World Cup quarter-final loss to France in Cardiff.
Nick Evans contemplates elimination from the World Cup
But Henry, to be replaced at the end of 2007, insists they are still the best team in the world, "it's just that we haven't got that little yellow cup".
"We will be scarred for the rest of our lives and I mean that. We will always remember this," Henry said.
"I'm not embarrassed or sad that we've not done the job, just disappointed."
New Zealand went to France as hot favourites to win the trophy which they have lifted just once, in the inaugural tournament in 1987.
But despite Henry admitting they had "turned over every stone in preparation" to win the tournament, their failure to reach the semi-finals means it is their worst-ever showing at a World Cup.
"I'm totally comfortable with the strategies we put in place," he said.
"It's proven because we are the number one rugby side in the world and have been for a long time and still are.
"It's just that we haven't got that little yellow cup.
"We feel we did everything possible. That makes you feel disappointed but there's no embarrassment here.
"I think it's important we don't have a knee-jerk reaction to what's happened here, that we think about things very deeply over the next few weeks and go through the correct process."