As a prop from a past era, I got a shock last night when the Welsh tighthead Tomas Francis got popped.

His arse went in the air first, which shows poor technique, then he burst out like a big red pimple. As a prop a) it's uncomfortable and b) it's not a good look. I said, 'geez, that's one from the old days' to no one in particular. You used to be able to do that and get away with it. These days you normally get penalised.

Such a solid scrum platform was among the highlights in the All Blacks' comprehensive win.

Charlie Faumuina had a great game at tighthead, and the other changes the selectors made to the starting XV improved rather than detracted from the performance.


Elliot Dixon worked into the game well on debut at blindside flanker, as did centre George Moala until he was injured.

Moala's strong enough to crash through tackles and clever enough to run into gaps and put others away.

Liam Squire also brought energy with half a dozen decent carries in his first five minutes. He looked like he loved breaking ground, making tackles and effectively did nothing wrong.

Of the regulars, Israel Dagg was back to his best and worked well with Ben Smith. They chanced their arm a couple of times, but in the modern game, those guys can do that because they have faith in those running behind them. That's especially the case when Beauden Barrett's at first-five. He takes the ball to the line and you'd have to go back a long way to find a No 10 who would bulldoze over in the tackle with players in support like he did. The more he kept the ball in hand, the more his flair emerged. It varies with the first five-eighth. Lima Sopoaga's more like Barrett, but if it's Aaron Cruden, he does the precise things well in tight tests.

Brodie Retallick's presence is worthy of mention, too. In addition to his core duties, he made about 10 tackles, took the ball up and constantly linked in with movements.

The upshot is the All Blacks coaching staff can build an excellent plan for the Rugby Championship. They can be happy with the team's progress, regardless of what has happened in South Africa or Australia in recent weeks. They can afford to analyse those performances more than their own. Playing last night's tempo against the South Africans would leave the Springboks gagging for air. Against the Australians, they just need to be more dominant up front.