One personnel change to the starting team signals the demand for further improvements and the All Blacks intent to clinch the series against Ireland in Dunedin.
In essence, All Blacks coach Ian Foster has opted to keep the faith.
Foster could have injected Will Jordan and David Havili, among others, into his side this week but he has instead favoured selection continuity to back those who emphatically did the job in the 42-19 Eden Park victory.
Had Sam Whitelock not suffered concussion, the All Blacks would have named the same starting team.
With Whitelock out and Tupou Vaa'i the latest player to contract Covid, Scott Barrett moves from blindside to partner Brodie Retallick in the second-row while Blues captain Dalton Papalii assumes the No 6 jersey for the first time in his 13-test career.
While the All Blacks have largely retained the same starting team the bench features four changes, including debuts for Chiefs prop Aidan Ross and Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava, as well as Patrick Tuipulotu's immediate return from Japan and Jordan's comeback from Covid.
Foster noted he wanted to give Akira Ioane (foot), Havili and Nepo Laulala (both neck) another week to progress lingering niggles but also made it clear last week's starters earned another crack.
"We want to win the series so that means this week for us," Foster said. "The best way to cement the progress is to reward the effort they put in by using the experience they had playing against the Irish to try and grow some things. We felt making too many changes right now would take us back a cog.
"We saw last week there were two very good rugby teams on the park. We wanted this series to test some things against a quality Northern Hemisphere team and get some good information.
"We know how much they want it. We know they're going to be desperate to keep the series alive so we won't be surprised that we're going to have to lift again. We've spoken about that but talking and doing are different things. We're pretty determined."
Papalii started nine times at openside flanker for the All Blacks last year in Sam Cane's absence. In that time he progressively made his mark on the test arena, with his physical defence coming to the fore. In the loss to Ireland in Dublin last November Papalii made a game-high 22 tackles. He carried that form through to an inspirational season with the Blues, and will now attempt to leave an imprint on the No 6 jersey.
"He's a different six isn't he but it's a hard ground under a roof," Foster said. "We expect the game to be fast. Dalton is a very physical player in his own right but he's quick and offers a different skill set in that space. It's a great opportunity for us to do that. While it's in a starting role it's something we'll be looking to cover within a 23 down the track so it's a good chance to do that."
Papalii's inclusion does, however, change the dynamic of the All Blacks set piece. Losing Whitelock hands the responsibility for calling the lineout to Retallick and with Barrett shifting to lock, the All Blacks don't possess the same ability to cover the Irish jumpers in the same manner. Starting three locks last week also contributed to a dominant scrummaging performance.
Foster acknowledged these changes but remains confident the All Blacks can apply pressure to the heart of the Irish game.
"Set piece will be a little bit affected. It changes the way we have to go about it. Clearly it's not the same mix but we've got to be good enough to adapt to that. It's fair to say we would have looked at Scott again at six. We really enjoyed his game and I think you'll see him there again at some stage, but for now it's a chance for us to look at where we could have ended up in the second half last week with three more mobile loosies who play similarly. Dalton is a tough rugby player."
Fakatava's inclusion on the bench is a potential joker in the pack for the All Blacks. The Irish won't have seen much of Fakatava through his predominant bench role behind Aaron Smith at the Highlanders but the Tongan-born prospect could break the game open in the final quarter with his superb running game around the fringes.
"I want to see his teeth, his big smile and I want him to go out and enjoy doing what he does. The first test is always a big occasion but it's almost twice as big when you're playing on your home ground. He's really clear over the last two or three weeks about the role of a nine but the flipside is he's got his own way of expressing himself that we don't want to inhibit."
All Blacks v Ireland
7.05pm, Saturday, Forsyth Barr Stadium
All Blacks: Jordie Barrett, Sevu Reece, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (c), Dalton Papalii, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Codie Taylor, George Bower.
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Aidan Ross, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Pita Gus Sowakula, Folau Fakatava, Richie Mo'unga, Will Jordan.
Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton (c), Jamison Gibson-Park; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Peter O'Mahony, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Tadhg Furlong, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter.
Reserves: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Treadwell, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Bundee Aki.