When the sum of the All Blacks' parts come together like this, they truly are spectacular.

Remember, this is a team we lamented this season for not meeting expectations.

Thing is we expect, demand, the All Blacks play this well every week. Perfection in any pursuit is never realistic yet, when it comes to the All Blacks, that is indeed the aspiration.

We know what they are capable of at the peak of their powers and, even when they miss the mark slightly, we let them know.


That'll probably never change. It is just one of the reasons they remain the world's best.

But just as they are held to exemplary standards so, too, must they be celebrated when the skill across the board is this good.

Criticise the Springboks all you want - they were admittedly poor to the point of embarrassing. But they drew with the Wallabies in Perth last week and won their last five tests against Argentina and France prior.

That the Boks were made to look so inferior speaks to the quality of the All Blacks. And there is much more improvement to come yet.

When the collective combines like this, praising specific individuals becomes difficult.

Naturally, many figures shone for the All Blacks. Possibly none more so than Rieko Ioane.

The step, pace, fend, strength; this kid really has it all. Poor old Raymond Rhule never stood a chance. He'll be having nightmares about Ioane's big frame.

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It's easy to forget this was Ioane's seventh test - and he is just 20 years old. He's already been to the Olympics and, clearly, looks more and more comfortable at the highest level.


Ioane's opening try was set up by Aaron Smith's snappy vision and a brilliant left-foot kick but he still needed the gas to get their first.

When Beauden Barrett received the ball at the back and spotted Ioane loom on his outside in space he had no hesitation throwing him the ball. "Have a crack, son" was essentially the message. Ioane responded with a busting, weaving surge which saw big Brodie Retallick cash in.

Ioane was caught out defensively on one occasion in the second half coming off his wing. With ball in hand, though, he beat tacklers at will. But it was also his decision-making once through the hole which impressed. He picked the right man to pass to and didn't force a miracle when it wasn't on.

For so long Julian Savea was an irreplaceable, irresistible force on the left wing.

It is now hard to see a time when Ioane won't own the No 11 jersey. By the end of the match the 30,000 in Albany grew accustomed to rising every time he touched the ball.

Barrett was another to produce a timely performance that should ease tension. From a near flawless goal kicking performance (8/9) to a sublime flick pass for Nehe Milner-Skudder's first try to a classy cut-out pass for his brace and some impressive clearance kicks from his own line, Barrett was back in the groove.

Liam Squire, before departing with a head knock after just 27 minutes, also proved exactly why he is now New Zealand's first-choice blindside.

Physicality is an overused term but the ferocity of Squire's collisions can be sensed from the stands. The head of the ball carrier frequently rocks back when Squire hits. Other times he targets and often rips the ball when he doesn't get the connection he wants. And when a smaller man is in his grasp, he simply manhandles them.

Squire and Vaea Fifita shape as the perfect contrast. Squire loves the tight exchanges - give him the grunt work early and then unleash Fifita's speed and power when the game opens up.

Scott Barrett wasn't a bad replacement, either. The lock did not look out of place on the side of the scrum and showed remarkable composure to score from his brother's cross-field kick.

Slotting the younger Barrett at blindside and keeping Ardie Savea in reserve adds another layer to the All Blacks' depth.

After copping a half century in the last two meetings against the All Blacks, the Boks will argue Steve Hansen's men don't need any more armoury.

This was clearly not a fair fight.

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