It wasn't consistent or relentless and much of the second test was best forgotten, but the All Blacks produced pockets of rugby in the June series that hint to their true potential.

Maybe the most important thing is that they ended the series in better shape that they started and they came up with answers to the problems they encountered along the way.

Outplayed at the breakdown last week, they bounced back this week and carried the ball harder and better and reacted quicker.

Guilty of going off script last week when they were a bit wild and tactically random, they held their shape and direction considerably better in Dunedin.


And on the personnel front, they saw a handful of players give clear evidence they can be long term All Blacks.

Scott Barrett, never quite able to prove he was the domineering force the coaches want him to be at lock last year, probably came away as the man of the series.

His lineout work was notable but he also powered through the crunching chores with a venom and impact that his team needed.

Karl Tu'inukuafe, from nowhere, is now suddenly a genuine test footballer with so much upside that it is intriguing to ponder how good he could be by the end of the year.

Damian McKenzie didn't eliminate his capacity to make critical errors. He still threw a few ill-advised passes, but what mattered was he reduced his errors and increased his wow factor.

His attacking threat at No 10 is substantial and his ability to punish teams from first receiver is now apparent. He finished the third test with more positives than negatives and will have provided the coaching staff with the assurances they were looking for that he can be trusted to start at No 10 if needs be.

"Very pleasing," was All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's assessment of the third test performance. "We tidied up a lot of what was wrong the week before.

"The tight five were a lot better and provided a platform for us to play off. Damian [McKenzie] answered a lot of questions that the fans and media were raising. He showed that he is a very capable footballer at 10 and can drive a team around the park.


"And some of the younger guys played particularly well so it was a good night for us."

The reduced penalty count in the third test was another majorly pleasing factor for Hansen. The All Blacks made a ridiculous number of tackles in the first 20 minutes and while they were disappointed to not have the ball and be stuck in their own territory, they did at least defend with the accuracy and discipline they needed.

There was more control in the way they hit the ball carriers and great awareness of how to attack the breakdown and most importantly no one was guilty of doing anything rash.

That composure and patience will be expected now for the rest of the year as the All Blacks are infinitely harder to play when they demand that opponents break them down rather than live off handouts caused by ill-discipline.

So the picture is reasonably encouraging for Hansen and his coaching team and potentially rosier again when the list of absentees is taken into account.

"We just need to get better right across the park," Hansen said about what his side needs to do.

"But we are introducing new stuff that takes time. We have got people like [Beauden] Barrett, [Kieran] Read, [Liam] Squire and [Brodie] Retallick who are not here. We will bring them back in and hopefully that will make us stronger than we are at the moment.

"South Africa and Australia are improved teams and are playing well and they are going to be great challenges. And I think Argentina are going to be a surprise package as well."