COMMENT

Few, if any, other teams in world rugby could recover from 15 points down at Twickenham.

The All Blacks, though, almost always find a way. Forget the flashy touches, this is their most endearing quality.

In such a hostile, foreign environment; in terrible conditions they are not accustomed or necessarily suited to, they deserve credit for their courageous response.

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But as the dust settles and the team arrives in Dublin today to begin preparations for a match All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says will decide the world's best, the microscope swiftly turns on exactly why his men started so poorly in London.

That was certainly not part of the plan.

Beauden Barrett of New Zealand All Blacks is tackled by Brad Shields of England during the Quilter International match between England and New Zealand. Photo / Getty
Beauden Barrett of New Zealand All Blacks is tackled by Brad Shields of England during the Quilter International match between England and New Zealand. Photo / Getty

From the opening kickoff, spilt by Brodie Retallick, otherwise, the best player on the sodden pitch, the All Blacks were backpedalling throughout the opening quarter.

Watch the haka again and you will see just how fired up they were. At one stage Rieko Ioane, just one example, aggressively points at the English team.

Given the four-year wait for a crack at England, and with Hansen labelling this test bigger than the Lions series, perhaps the All Blacks were too hyped; too over aroused as they sometimes suggest.

Like a shaken fizzy drink, they seemed ready to explode when the whistle went.

At this level, that's not always the best place to be.

Usually, the All Blacks pride themselves on being task focused rather than making it personal.

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Two minutes in, with Ioane caught well off his wing, giving Chris Ashton a free run to the line, it was clear they didn't get the balance right.

Such errors were endemic, too.

Their defensive lineout later became a trump card but, early on, Codie Taylor overthrew and others delivered scrappy ball.

Sonny Bill Williams dropped one kick cold; Ben Smith made a break only to then throw an uncharacteristic wild pass to no one.

Aaron Smith sent a box kick sailing out on the full and missed lead runners with uncertainty evident from the base.

The All Blacks appeared rattled. They were under the pump and while England's hissing early efforts can't be overlooked, these basic errors undoubtedly made settling that much more difficult.

Eventually, of course, the All Blacks came right.

Even after conceding a 13-man drive over - just 24 minutes in - they didn't panic. They took a deep breath, regrouped and responded.

New Zealand's Ben Smith, Jack Goodhue and Ryan Crotty celebrate at the final whistle. Photo / Getty
New Zealand's Ben Smith, Jack Goodhue and Ryan Crotty celebrate at the final whistle. Photo / Getty

In a nod to on-field leaders, they changed tactics; stopped kicking, and patiently built phases which led to Damian McKenzie crashing over from Beauden Barrett's inside ball in their only try of the match.

From 15-0 down they went into the sheds with a great deal more confidence having scrapped their way back to within five points.

But such an off colour start made it difficult and, this week, they can't afford to give Ireland any comparable head start.

"Naturally when you're excited you tend to creep which shuts down your time and space. Once we got into the game, once we relaxed a bit, we found our way," All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett said.

"It's about trying to do that as soon as possible. They threw the first punch and they reacted the best. It's not the ideal way we want to start a test match but the way we fought back in the second quarter was crucial to give us a bit of confidence going into the second half."

At home Ireland will be expected to start in similar fashion to England.

Rather than fight fire with fire by getting overly worked up, maybe the All Blacks need to dial it back slightly in favour of maintaining clear heads.

That way they can adjust, adapt and possibly minimise mistakes which gift attacking opportunities and fuel the opposition's momentum and belief.

The All Blacks often learn and grow from experiences - Barrett's first test dropped goal a prime example.

Eleven of this squad played their first tests at Twickenham, in front of 82,000, and will be much before better for it.

This week we should to see the benefits of those lessons.