No one was expecting perfection from the All Blacks in Dunedin, but everyone was holding out to see a little more than they got.
The score was always destined to be a false barometer of the All Blacks' health and was never going to be particularly important unless it showed Fiji ahead, which was a possibility as remote as England not making a big deal of things should they win the European Football Championship this weekend.
Fiji, brilliant and brave, were never going to have the conditioning to still be on their feet come the final 10 minutes on a ground that drains even the fittest.
The task in Dunedin was supposedly going to be drilling deep into the All Blacks' performance to try to pick holes that may have been hard to find given the relative lack of preparation afforded a compromised Fijian team.
But it didn't end up requiring much clever sleuthing to see where the All Blacks weren't doing too well. The bulk of their issues were right out in the open – in plain view and all too apparent.
Simply put, they didn't dominate the physical exchanges. Not for long enough, early enough and not the way they wanted to or where they needed to – which was at the breakdown and tackle area.
They had Fiji's scrum in all sorts of trouble but tests in Dunedin tend to be swung more by the ball carrying and tackling collisions and it was here where the All Blacks were surprisingly second for 65 minutes until Fiji inevitably hit the wall.
The first half was in fact quite a torrid time for the All Blacks. They have made restoration of their micro skills a priority this year, which includes a desire to refine and hone their tackle technique, ball carrying heights and contact points as well as their cleanout accuracy.
But a lot of their work in these facets was inferior to Fiji's. It was the visitors who looked better equipped and skilled in the art of owning the collisions and they were the team that appeared to have the greater physical presence for much of the game.
They made greater distance with their ball carriers, produced more periods of continuity and critically, were able to slow the All Blacks' pipeline of possession better than many teams have in the last few years.
It would be a stretch to say they beat the All Blacks up, but then again, it's not easy to refute that they didn't.
The best way to sum up the All Blacks was that they appeared a bit loose: not quite tight enough or dynamic enough in the heavy traffic and not quite quick enough or clear about how they could move Fijian defenders at the ruck.
There was always a risk for the All Blacks playing Ethan Blackadder at openside – a position with which he's not overly familiar – as it gave Fiji a sense of opportunity at the tackled ball area.
And it was there that they hurt the All Blacks the most. Time and again they picked off an isolated ball carrier and won the penalty turnover.
There can be no criticism of Blackadder, who produced a Herculean effort and strangely, although he wore No 7, looked a more compelling blindside than Shannon Frizell who was wearing No 6.
Nor should the prognosis for the All Blacks be overly gloomy. The All Blacks did fight their way to domination and owned the last 15 minutes.
Brodie Retallick got through 80 minutes and took a big step towards reattuning himself with the pace and intensity of rugby at this level.
The driving maul became a more potent feature of the weaponry and something that will clearly be of use come the Rugby Championship and with Dalton Papalii and Ardie Savea both likely to be fit soon enough, the breakdown work should instantly improve.
And there was the indefatigable Dane Coles. Four tries from the hooker in 30 minutes of rugby – proof that there is still life in an old dog.