It's difficult to know whether the All Blacks did more harm than good at Soldier Field in terms of selling rugby to the Americans.

The visitors were slick, clinical and adventurous - playing the sort of pass and run football that could only have engaged the uninitiated.

Sonny Bill Williams was in full flow; Kieran Read edged closer to his best form and Patrick Tuipulotu provided a ball carrying crunch that long suffering visitors to Soldier Field must be craving to see from the Chicago Bears' big men.


First Take: All Blacks win American hearts

Then there was Charlie twinkle-toes Faumuina. Has such a big man ever been so light on his feet? Twice he stepped like he was an outside back. The Blues spent a fortune on Benji Marshall, and seriously, he couldn't hold a candle to Faumuina in terms of footwork.

From a purely New Zealand perspective, the day could hardly have gone better. They wanted to play with structure, control and tempo. Which they did. For good measure, they crushed the Eagles' scrum for fun - presumably not so much to prove that they could, but with half an eye on the coming games where scrummaging is going to be a torrid business.

They wanted to be expansive and creative when they could -and they were. They wanted a young and relatively inexperienced team to settle early at a big venue on a big occasion - which they did.

They also got their desired 30 minutes out of Daniel Carter, whom, after throwing two wild passes to start, settled into his usual easy flow and will feel pretty good to have some football under his belt.

The performance was everything they wanted with the only disappointment coming in the injuries to Williams, Nathan Harris and Cory Jane.

Harris opened the scoring but only managed another few minutes before an ankle problem forced him off. Jane, who as quite magnificent, appeared to tug a hamstring when he was in full flight.

Williams limped off after he fell on a loose ball. It looked like cramp - the All Blacks will certainly hope so as they will probably, on the evidence of Soldier Field's performance, be reasonably confident about letting Williams loose at Twickenham in some capacity.


Dan Carter made his All Black comeback as a second-half substitute. Photo / Getty Images

As for the bigger question as to what the test will have done for the profile of rugby in the US?

There's one argument that the All Blacks gave a performance that will inspire a nation to play. Playing at the home of the Bears, comparisons between rugby and the NFL will be inevitable and an audience used to the stop-start, anaerobic grid iron, may have been mesmerised by the aerobic content on display. The big-big men don't really get their hands on the ball in the NFL so to have seen a big lump like Tuipulotu at full tilt might have more than piqued the interest of those watching for the first time.

But there's also no escaping the fact that American sport only cherishes winners. The people of Chicago have had enough of the hapless Bears - they had rather hoped to see something more uplifting from the Eagles.

All Black halfback TJ Perenara in action during this morning's test. Photo / Getty Images

What so few in the US would appreciate is that Williams will most likely carve up every side he plays against: or that the All Blacks are capable of scoring 50 points against the world's third best team.

What people around the US will hopefully realise, is that the Eagles showed incredible heart and commitment to still be trying so hard when they were so far behind.

Hopefully they will realise that the US can't possibly compete against a side like the All Blacks when they only get to play Tier One nations once every blue moon.

USA 6 (A. Siddall 2 pens)
New Zealand 74 (N. Harris, C. Jane, P. Tuipulotu, S. Williams (2), C. Piutau, J. Savea (2), J. Moody, A. Cruden, I. Dagg, S. Cane tries; A. Cruden 4 cons; D. Carter 3 cons)