The bigger goal for the All Blacks this June became clearer in the hours following their heavy victory at Eden Park.

Their main objective isn't just to win the series against France, it is to do so in a manner that prepares them for what is likely to be a difficult and intense Rugby Championship.

The All Blacks produced tidy and effective bursts of rugby in Auckland but it was the Wallabies who were the class act of the weekend.

Australia played particularly well in beating Ireland and against the odds, they seem to have magically pulled together a supremely good squad from the rubble of Super Rugby.


Maybe the Wallabies don't have the same depth of personnel as the All Blacks and maybe they can't yet say they play at or close to their potential as consistently as the All Blacks do.

But when they have the guts of their squad available as they currently do and trust their gameplan and natural instincts the way they did at Suncorp against Ireland, they are a worryingly good team.

The emergence of Adam Coleman and Izack Rodda at lock has stiffened the pack – given them genuine grunt in the scrum and presence at the tackle area.

Australia celebrate David Pocock's second-half try against Ireland. Photo / Photosport
Australia celebrate David Pocock's second-half try against Ireland. Photo / Photosport

The solidity of those two meant David Pocock was able to play a blindingly good game as an out and out poacher, while Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau have a brilliant combination going now that allows both to use their full range of skills.

Whatever dramas and inadequacies are besetting Australia's Super Rugby sides, they haven't been enough to prevent the Wallabies from finding 23 players who can be a serious force.

The situation in South Africa appears equally encouraging as the Boks were also able to ignore their stuttering Super Rugby fortunes to post a good win against England.

Their change of policy to open test selection to all eligible players based overseas has immediately made them a better team and the All Blacks will know that they have two more tests against France to embed their combinations and find a greater cohesion than they produced at Eden Park to ready themselves for what could be an epic Rugby Championship.

With that in mind, it is unlikely there will be any change in personnel for the All Blacks this week in Wellington.


None of the 23 involved in the 52-11 victory reported any injury issues and with Sam Cane and Ofa Tuungafasi cleared of any wrongdoing in the tackle on French wing Remy Grosso, Hansen hinted he'll most likely rubber stamp the same group for this weekend.