When the warm afterglow of the first victory of head coach Ian Foster's reign faded under the glare of the forensic review, a major disappointment would have quickly revealed itself and it's something the All Blacks will seek to put right in the third Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney tonight.
It doesn't need a video analyst to point out the obvious from the 27-7 win at Eden Park. The All Blacks failed to score a point in the final 25 minutes despite their pack being increasingly dominant in the set piece and around the field, and Caleb Clarke and Beauden Barrett ripping the Wallabies to shreds almost at will.
Credit goes to the Wallabies under new coach Dave Rennie because their determination in the final quarter echoed their excellent performance in Wellington and the first half in Auckland. There is a new starch in the gold jumper that has been missing in recent years.
But the All Blacks' inability to finish them off like they did last year in their 36-0 win at the same venue after their calamity in Perth the week before, or their 40-12 victory in 2018, also at Eden Park, must be considered a failure.
At Eden Park, the incremental improvement dropped away despite the Wallabies looking like a broken team once Sam Cane scored his converted try and it made for a curious denouement, something the skipper touched on yesterday.
Any sort of victory at ANZ Stadium would probably suit the All Blacks, given it will result in the retention of the Bledisloe Cup, a cherished trophy they've held since 2003, but it's clear an 80 minute-plus performance is the standard they've set themselves.
"We probably had a 15 to 20-minute spell after halftime where we pretty much just nailed our jobs," Cane said. "There were no errors, really. We just executed. When we did that, we looked really good. The last 20 minutes, we didn't quite nail things. What I learned was how good we can be when we get those things right, and our challenge is to execute and do those things under pressure more often than not."
Under pressure and while applying pressure. The All Blacks forced the Wallabies to miss about 40 tackles at Eden Park, a number which would suggest a thrashing on the scoreboard, and clearly the intention for Bledisloe III is to exert a similar amount of intensity on an increasingly inexperienced home side while making far better use of their opportunities.
With first-five James O'Connor out injured and Noah Lolesio and Irae Simone making their debuts at No 10 and No 12, the All Blacks will be keen to send a lot of traffic in Sydney into the close channels either side of the breakdown or set piece.
Cane denied his team would target the pair but the All Blacks' direct running at O'Connor by Jack Goodhue and company paid dividends in Auckland and it's unlikely Foster will divert from a winning formula.
Another advantage is that with experienced lock Sam Whitelock back from concussion, the skipper doesn't lack ruthless leaders in his pack.
"Most people on debut have a pretty good game because it's the realisation of a dream," Cane said. "Like in any test match, we'll look to put pressure on the guys driving them around the park — their 10 and 12 — so nothing much will change."
Significantly, he also added of Rennie's men in general: "It wouldn't surprise me if they had been doing a wee bit of tackling practice. Everyone knows your defence has to be good to win test matches. We're still confident if we can hold on to the ball, we can force them to make a lot of tackles and hopefully miss a few, too.
"We know we took a big step to reclaiming the Bledisloe last week, and this week, the sole focus has been on [tonight].
"It was a line in the sand where we know how we can perform. Hopefully with another week's training, we can make some improvements."
All Blacks: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith, Hoskins Sotutu, Sam Cane (c), Shannon Frizell, Sam Whitelock, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tuungafasi, Dane Coles, Karl Tu'inukuafe. Reserves: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Tyrel Lomax, Scott Barrett, Dalton Papalii, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, Rieko Ioane.
Wallabies: Dane Haylett-Petty, Filipo Daugunu, Jordan Petaia, Irae Simone, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Michael Hooper (c), Ned Hanigan, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Allan Alaalatoa, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper. Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Hunter Paisami.