All Blacks 26
Patience is a virtue the All Black captain will be extolling as his side look ahead to Murrayfield and leg two of the Grand Slam.
Richie McCaw twice used the phrase "we were our own worst enemy" to describe New Zealand's inability to turn early dominance of possession and the tackle area into enough points to put yesterday's game at Twickenham away.
"There were a couple of times we had space and we gave the ball back to them, and we ended up under pressure because of it," said McCaw, who played his 91st test.
"That was one of the big things, we just kept giving them opportunities."
They were chances England did not have the wherewithal to maximise.
Replacement hooker Dylan Hartley scored after the home side caught New Zealand napping on the break, and Shontayne Hape came within millimetres of scoring in the corner with five minutes to go, but England did not ask quite enough questions of New Zealand's scrambling, 14-man defence.
The All Blacks were expected to win through their cutting edge on attack, but in the end it was their resilience, especially after they lost Jerome Kaino to a yellow card with nine minutes remaining.
When Rotorua-born Hartley scored, he was the first player to breach New Zealand's defence on an end-of-year tour since Martyn Williams crossed for Wales in 2006, and his try was the first they had conceded in Europe since a certain match against France in Cardiff in 2007.
"I was pretty happy with the ways the guys defended," McCaw said. "We showed a lot of heart there and it was pretty physical."
There were shades of Hong Kong in the way New Zealand established a seemingly impregnable position then let the opposition back into the match.
A team with more constructive ability than England might have made them pay.
"Sometimes you're your own worst enemy," McCaw said. "We tried to score a try when we made a break rather than having a bit of patience and creating some pressure.
"Those are things you've got to learn, and next week [against Scotland] we'll work on improving it."
It is a difficult balancing act. The All Black coaches and skipper do not want to put the enormous talent and skills of their players in a straitjacket, but they need to strike a chord between idealism and pragmatism.
"The attitude we've got as to how we want to play the game is spot on," McCaw said.
"When there's space you want to be able to use it, but there's times in the game where that's the right thing to do and times when a slightly more conservative option might be better.
"You don't want to stifle the guys' ability to look at space and play what they see, but you have to temper it."
No 8 Kieran Read scored the team's second and final try off the back of a scrum - a try England coach Martin Johnson justly labelled a poor one to concede at test level - and echoed McCaw's thoughts when it came to describing the team's shortcomings.
"The team is not as ecstatic as it should be," he said. "We needed to stay patient with the ball and we didn't respect it enough in the second half. We've got to be tough on ourselves. When you're in a position to put teams away you've got to look after the ball, and we didn't do that."
The All Blacks almost sounded like a team hurting in defeat, so it is important to note that they won a match in front of a large crowd at Twickenham, something most other sides around the world find difficult to do.
England under Johnson are improving quickly, even if they lack some silk in the centres and a link in the loosies.
"We did lots of good things," Johnson said. "If you're not on the pace early they're going to hurt you and they did - 14-0 is not a great place to be. To go from that position to give ourselves a shot was good."