Sportal.co.nz 07.Oct.2013Getty Images
The All Blacks finished the Championship unbeaten after their 38-27 win.
"There's not really too much you can say. We felt we let ourselves down. Full credit to the coaching staff, particularly Heyneke [Meyer], for making us believe it was possible.
"But we definitely let Heyneke down with our defensive effort," he said after the game.
The system wasn't at fault, it was the players, de Villiers said.
"Defence comes from within. The system wasn't to blame and the players take full responsibility. We just didn't play to our standard. Fifty percent of the game is about attack.
"Last year our defence was good, this year our attack was good and our defence wasn't always great. I am looking forward to seeing what happens if one day we get both right at the same time," he said.
Meyer said: "We let ourselves down defensively. Our defence is normally a lot better than that, but tonight we let the All Blacks score tries they shouldn't have and it cost us what I thought was a great opportunity to make our country really proud.
"I disagree that it was because our forwards lack mobility.
"I think the problem was over-eagerness. A few of their tries were scored because of us shooting out of line. We also didn't get the results at the contact points today, and that also cost us," he said.