Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith has praised Super Rugby champions the Chiefs after they beat his team 34-22 in Hamilton.
The Chiefs led for all but three minutes of the match but struggled to pull away from the Hurricanes until the final quarter after leading 17-12 at half time.
Smith, who returned to captain the Hurricanes from center after playing all three of New Zealand's tests against France, was typically hard-working for a team which was brave but outclassed.
"I felt like we were in that game," Smith said.
"I know the scoreboard suggests we were a wee way off."
"I thought we played some of the better footy in that first half but they're just a good side."
"You know you're playing a good side when you feel like you're in the game and you look up at the scoreboard and you're 10 points down."
Chiefs captain Craig Clarke said that he was not happy with the performance by his team but said that it was probably because they were "rusty" after the June break.
"A great performance is probably overdoing it a bit," said Clarke.
"We were a bit rusty in the first half but we showed a bit more accuracy and a bit more ticker in the second.
"We started getting dominance in the scrum in the second half and that was very important for us. Our bench boys brought some good energy, especially when they were chasing the game."