In a scrappy All Blacks victory, there were still a couple of individuals who stood out.

David Havili's performance makes you smile. His influence and to achieve what he did on debut was outstanding.

No doubt plenty of accolades will be given to the front row, and rightly so. The starting trio did the job, and Wyatt Crockett when he came on ... for them to dominate an Argentinian front row in Argentina; those individuals, the likes of Kane Hames, deserve a lot of praise because they've been under a lot of pressure.

But the one guy who shone above others for me is Luke Romano. He doesn't get many chances any more but, with the All Blacks leaving out Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick, he really stood up.


If you watch his game, he epitomised the desperation on defence; he ran hard, he executed the lineout. It is good we can leave out two world-class players and have someone like Romano, who is probably underrated, play 80 minutes and play them really well.

It gives you great confidence that if we were to lose Whitelock or Retallick through injury, Romano could step in and more than do the job. He doesn't get a great deal of praise but he is a high quality player.

The last article I wrote after the All Blacks thrashed the Springboks in Albany, I complimented them on their unnoticeable aspects where they are so proficient, especially their passing. It usually flows without you really being aware just how clinical they are. The passes are always out in front; not on the hip.

One test match on, it was a catalyst for the All Blacks not putting in a performance we expect of them. There's a slight sense of irony that one of the things we take for granted and they do so well didn't work and caused them problems. They just couldn't get any rhythm like they normally do. They did it at times, but not over 80 minutes and that unsettled them.

When Argentina reviews the game, they will rue the opportunities they gave the All Blacks in the opening 15 minutes when, to be quite blunt, the Pumas were pretty awful.

By being that bad, they allowed the All Blacks to put a lot of points on them early. It was a deficit they were never going to chase down.

Yes, they put in a tenacious fight from the 25th minute and slightly got themselves back, but a lot of that was because the game had been dragged into the gutter a bit. That suited them more than it being free-flowing and the All Blacks getting fast ball to punch on to their passes.

The Pumas will feel if they didn't concede all those early points, it might have been different.

With a young side after giving opportunities to fringe players, the All Blacks will move on very quickly. They know they have a difficult challenge playing the Boks at home next.

The All Blacks would be foolish to over-review this match. Sometimes things just don't click. When you make mass changes, that's always a risk. They did enough - they still put on 36 points. They could be really critical and hit up individuals for errors and yellow cards. But I don't know what good that will do them.

This was a grounding game for them after the performance at North Harbour.