This might not have been the greatest test in terms of providing a spectacle, but it had some entertaining moments and answered a few questions.

Beauden Barrett is a test-quality starting first-five. He was excellent in implementing the game plan, kicked well at goal and on attack was solid. It is his defence that really excites me, though. The improvement there has been dramatic and it's quickly gone from an area of concern to him being better than most there.

One position out, I loved Malakai Fekitoa's balanced display. He finally showed he had a passing game, his decision-making was excellent, his defence was thunderous and we already know what he can do with ball in hand.

I like him at No 12, but suspect centre is his best position. He seems the natural heir to Conrad Smith.


Sam Whitelock came back from three weeks off to play 80 minutes and show why he remains the world's best lock.

The balance Jerome Kaino brings to the loose forward trio is superb. He complements Kieran Read and Richie McCaw's games, but he is nowhere near a certain selection. Kaino and Liam Messam are combining to raise the bar at blindside.

Nathan Harris got his chance, which was great, but, boy, how good was Keven Mealamu. He showed us why he remains so important to this team.

Similarly, it was important to get TJ Perenara some exposure. He needs more time, too, to see how close he can get to the standard of Aaron Smith.

From an Argentine point of view, they were a bit disappointing. You can't win test matches on passion and emotion. They had enough of that but combined it with inaccurate decision-making that led to penalties, turnovers, handling mistakes and moments of panic and excitement instead of composure.

If they are to improve and start winning they need to instil better discipline in controlling themselves and applying pressure by taking charge of game situations.

New Zealand should be happy with what they achieved. They started well, silenced the expectant local crowd by ticking over points early and then kept the game safe for the rest of the 80.

Compared with the Pumas, the All Blacks are clinical, ruthless and desperate when challenged.


Ellis Park will be one to not miss; it will be a war if I know the South African attitude ... and this ABs team loves to go to war.