I don't think there would have been too many who thought the All Blacks would fail to beat Australia and break the world record at Eden Park.

The real question, perhaps, was: Would the Wallabies front?

They did, and that pleased me. The score didn't reflect the contest. Australia showed resolve - they flustered the All Blacks at times and were stubborn on defence.

I felt a sense of deflation after what I saw from the Springboks in Durban. Their only goal was to try to restrict the All Blacks and accumulate points any which way they could, which didn't including carrying the ball and scoring tries. I thought the Wallabies might use the same tactics, but they didn't, and the way they played suggests to me that they may be starting to go in the right direction.


The All Blacks probably didn't have one of their best days, but they were still lethal in the last 20 minutes. When teams tire, that's when they put the foot on the throttle, and that didn't change on Saturday. For the first hour they couldn't get the ball, couldn't get their rhythm. They might have felt frustrated that the game didn't flow for them, because they're not used to that.

One of the statistics at halftime showed they spent just over a minute inside the Wallabies' 22m, whereas the visitors spent more than five minutes inside the All Blacks' red zone.

I can't remember the All Blacks losing that stat this year.

One of the All Blacks' heroes has been Kieran Read. I really do like the way he's stepped into the captain's role. The attitude he has in leading this team, and the composure that he's showing, has been outstanding. He never looks flustered. Even when he was involved in an altercation, he didn't look bothered. He always moves on and that, to me, makes a very good captain.

He also encourages his players to believe in themselves. He makes decisions to back his team, turn down goal attempts and go for the jugular.

Winning teams are generally happy teams, but the All Blacks are going to a new level here too. Sometimes when players aren't getting game time, it can be difficult. Everyone wants to be involved in breaking records and winning trophies. Everyone wants a go. But what was obvious to me was how genuinely happy the bench players were when the All Blacks scored.

They weren't just applauding, but leaping in delight. They were genuinely happy their team was performing. And when they come on, they're performing, because they are in a positive frame of mind.

I think it's about time Read got some compliments for the big shoes he's stepped in to. Coping with the loss of 900 caps following the World Cup would not have been easy. He may have been apprehensive knowing that, but he's handled it and handled it magnificently.