CJ Stander reflected on Munster's Pro12 final defeat by Scarlets, which brought an end to a turbulent and emotional season that put the game in perspective, by insisting that "we're not losers".
There has been no shortage of global tragedy this year, most recently with the terror attack in Manchester, while the raw pain of loss was felt closer to home when Munster coach and cult hero Anthony Foley died at the start of the season.
Asked if rugby was still as important as it once might have been after Munster's 46-22 defeat by Scarlets, Stander told RTÉ Sport: "No. A lot of other stuff can happen in life. We're not losers, it's bad, but it's not the end of the world.
"We've lost a lot of people during the year, and especially in the last few weeks. It (losing) is bad but there's worse stuff that can happen.
"It's just a game. We all love it and everyone would love to win but they can't. You just need to enjoy it because you never know when you're going to get out there again."
Despite ending the season on a sour note, Stander acknowledged that the clear progress made by the province under coach Rassie Erasmus - including reaching the semi-final of the Champions Cup and the Pro12 decider - meant Munster and their fans could look forward to the next campaign with renewed confidence.
"It'll make it a bit to easier to move on from this loss, knowing where we were last year, battling it out for sixth place (in the Pro12)," Stander said.
"Hopefully this can push us on to greater heights one day.
"There's a lot of positives to take out of this whole season, everyone backed each other up and it's great to see that even after a 46-22 loss that the supporters stayed around to cheer us on.
"That's unbelievable, what we get, and that's what we work for. It's a good connection that hopefully we can push on for next year."