If a virtual training session romp against the Scots in Edinburgh represents a fair summation of New Zealand's supremacy in world rugby, then we can give the All Blacks the World Cup now and be done with it.

Hopefully, for the sake of the game, it doesn't. Scotland were so cowed, so blown away by the sight of powerful opponents just doing the simple things of rugby efficiently that they deserve banishment to the sport's lower tiers.

This was a pathetic illustration of the Northern Hemisphere at its worst.

If ever there was the personification of men against boys on the international rugby field, this was surely it.

Yet as an exercise in sorting the wheat from the chaff in international
rugby terms, this weekend was valuable. South Africa could afford to play for only 40 minutes in Cardiff and still beat Wales, albeit after surviving a late rally. Islanders Samoa and Fiji again failed to make the step up.

England's significant improvement at Twickenham against the Wallabies will have been the only performance in the Northern Hemisphere at the weekend to have raised the eyebrows of All Black coach Graham Henry.

For it is all but impossible to believe Ireland will rewrite the history books and beat Henry's men this Saturday. Ireland have many of the same failings and inconsistencies as Scotland; indeed, the Scots beat them in Dublin this year.

Ireland lack the ability to handle sustained pressure, are too one-dimensional going forward and are frequently guilty of simple mistakes.

Even their tactics against South Africa a week ago in Dublin were hopelessly wrong on the night. So what are the basics of New
Zealand's overwhelming superiority?

They play at a pace and with a sustained power and aggression that
northern players never encounter in their domestic schedule. It is like the difference between the English football Championship, the old Division 2, and the Premier League.

Make a mistake in the former and you are likely to get away with it. Do so against the best and you will be punished. Scotland made two crass
early errors on Saturday: missing touch from a penalty and turning over possession on a rare attack.

New Zealand scored two converted tries from those and set the trend.

What followed was an exercise in going through the motions for the All Blacks.

All they did was retain possession, win the breakdowns, off-load in the tackles and the tries flowed. There was nothing outrageously flamboyant; just simple, effective rugby. But it was altogether too much for the brave but completely outclassed Scots.

With their country broke right now, Ireland have enough worries. But the sight of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw putting their feet up for the best part of the last half-hour to rest before next Saturday, their job long done, can only have darkened the Irish mood.

Scotland's apologists pointed to the fact that their side had not played together for five months. Rusty they may have been but that did not explain the great canyon of a difference in the way the two sides did the basics.

Expect something almost as decisive across the Irish Sea this weekend.