Tests roll by so quickly it is easier to look towards the next international than to review the last.

Coaches and players do that but we pick over the carcass for a few days before shifting our thoughts and second-guessing what the All Blacks will do for their next match.

But this week there is a lull, time to be more reflective of their outstanding 57-0 victory against the Springboks before they dogleg their way through the airline dramas to Argentina for their next Rugby Championship challenge.

Time not only to assess the selection splits in the squad for the Cape Town test after that but to recall the performance of referee Nigel Owens who was such a central figure in the Albany test.


He was unobtrusive yet authoritative, a man at the top of his craft who was in as much command as the All Blacks. His demeanour and occasional demands were a pleasant contrast to some of the verbal diarrhoea from some referees.

Owens helped the flow of the game without listeners wishing he'd put a cork in his lilting instruction leaflet. Let it go, too slow - crisp commands without any unnecessary sentences.

Stay out, use, on the mark please, were heard and then space gentlemen, shoulders please and keep it steady at the first scrum. Sensible, direct, no misunderstanding.

Owens worked in with his touch judges Angus Gardner and Matthew Carley urging them to look behind play while he concentrated on the close-up physical contact. He encouraged the players, "50-50 contest lads; just play," and called time for Liam Squire to go for a HIA then dealt strongly with a few of the sparky moments.

After one push and shove scuffle Owens warned Bok halfback Francois Hougaard about picking on a bigger man before turning his tonsils towards Brodie Retallick.

"When the whistle goes, let the ball go. I'm not going to argue with you, I'm just to asking, is that clear? Thank you, let that be the end of it and off you go."

Owens is sure about his game and the way he wants the players to go about their work. He is firm without being domineering, patient without being a walkover and sensible enough to give himself a bit of time if he's not quite clear what has happened.

Keep up that form and he should be a dead-cert to referee the World Cup final in Japan in 2019 with Wales' progress the only likely nail in his tyres.

We've also seen Wayne Barnes, in Dunedin, show how much more in tune he is with his game and the players than he was a decade ago while Gardner is making strong statements with most of his appearances.

When the All Blacks start their double away leg in Buenos Aires, Jaco Peyper will be in charge before Jerome Garces takes the whistle in Cape Town. Their work can fluctuate like election opinion polls but the All Blacks' current form should provide a strong buffer against the range of obstacles in the next fortnight.