All Black great Dan Carter said he hopes the Crusaders did not let the people of Christchurch down with their 13-18 defeat to the high-flying Reds in the Super Rugby Final at the weekend.
Carter, who has tasted defeat in World Cup and Super Rugby play-off matches before, did not hold back when expressing his and the Crusaders' disappointment in the loss in Brisbane at the weekend.
"It would have been a special title if we'd been able to get there after all we've been through," the All Blacks flyhalf said of a season that saw them play every game away from their home ground - following the devastating Christchurch earthquake in February.
While most pundits pointed at the more than 130,000 kilometres the Crusaders travelled en route to the Final, Carter was adamant that they were up for the fight.
"The team rolled our sleeves up and got on with it," he said, adding: "It's frustrating because we got so close to creating something special
"We really wanted to win this one. We were getting a lot of accolades before the game saying no matter what happens the people will be proud of us at home but we knew as a team we wouldn't be happy unless we won."
Carter, who scored the Crusaders' only try, said hoped the people of Christchurch would not feel their team had let them down after suffering a third successive loss to the first-time champions.
"We don't think we let them down," he said.
"I think they're extremely proud we got this far after everything we've been through. We've given it our best shot all season.
"We would have liked to win it for the people back home because they're really added some motivation for our season.
"They're the real heroes back in Christchurch having to deal with it (life) on a day-to-day basis."
Carter was even beating himself up over his form in the Final, despite producing a near match-winning performance.
"I was a bit up and down," Carter said.
"I would have liked to have played a lot better, a couple of little mistakes crept into my game there."
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