Gordon D'Arcy: This is the lowest point of my career
Gordon D'Arcy admitted that he was "broken" after his side came agonisingly close to beating the All Blacks for the first time in the history of Irish rugby.
Ryan Crotty's converted try deep into stoppage time levelled the game at 22-all before Aaron Crudden kicked the conversion that condemned Ireland to another defeat against Kiwis at the Aviva Stadium.
"This is probably the low point, for me, in my rugby career," he told irishrugby.ie
D'Arcy said that today's performance would count for nothing if Ireland don't learn from the experience and launch a serious bid for another Six Nations title in 2014.
"If we don't build on that performance and that becomes the base for us going into the Six Nations, what did we achieve here today? Nothing!," added D'Arcy.
"This has to be (a benchmark). We talk a lot of wanting to move forward but sometimes we get in our own way and we pull out a 'one performance' team and are perceived as not consistent enough.
"There is definitely a level of progression from these three games. But this is only a positive after our five games in the Six Nations that we walk away from that, hopefully with a trophy, but putting in consistent performances and going five out of five."
The Wexford man believes that Ireland took the foot off the gas offensively in the second half and that ultimately cost Ireland the game and not Sexton's penalty miss six minutes from time.
"I think you look at it more that we didn't score in the second half. You gotta have the ambition and we did have the ambition to go after our scores but we didn't get them," he added.
"It was one kick but there were other opportunities where we could have been a bit more accurate and maybe force another penalty. But to only get one kickable penalty or not to get a try...
"We had a great maul, and suddenly collapsed very close to the line. There was another solid base of an attack in their 22 that resulted in nothing.
"We probably had three or four times where we could have attacked and could have got something out of it but we didn't. You are not going to put it on one kick. It is just generally not scoring in 40 minutes isn't good enough."
D'Arcy believes it was one of the finest Irish performances he has ever been involved in
"That's a 10 out of 10. That is one of the toughest games I have ever played in. They are not walking away from that saying that was an easy game," he said.
"We talked a lot about the body language. I'd say over 50% of the game we won the body language battle that was going on. They had the hands on hips. They were blowing out their ass and we were winning those battles. You just have to be a little more clinical maybe."