For top professional sports teams there is no greater motivator than righting the wrongs of a defeat and for the All Blacks a poor performance in victory comes a close second.

And that's what they have judged their efforts at Westpac Stadium in the second test against the French; a 26-13 victory which featured a near perfect storm of acknowledged selection errors and an early red card for the opposition which seduced the All Blacks into thinking they could run the visitors off their feet before they earned the right to do so.

Instead, with Beauden Barrett off the field, and the French at their stubborn, obstinate best, the All Blacks found themselves running into cul-de-sacs in the second half rather than the space they assumed they would find.

"Once the red card happened we might have thought it would happen like the last 30 minutes last week," halfback Aaron Smith said. "We [thought] we could just run around them and not earn the right to score tries and I think they maybe got a bit of energy from that. I know as a player when you're down a man you find another gear – you try to do a bit more and you also play a little bit more freely."


Perhaps most disappointing of all for Steve Hansen and company was the ineffectiveness of the All Blacks' defence – a sure sign that the attitude wasn't at the required level after they forced the French into a final quarter collapse in the 52-11 first-test victory at Eden Park.

The All Blacks made 119 tackles and missed 30 – the latter a huge number by their standards.

"There have been worse All Black performances that I've been involved in but [missing] one in five is not acceptable," Hansen said in Wellington a day after the test.

"The big thing is we won't panic. Let's look at what we did achieve last night – we won a series, we played poorly and we won a series. That can't be all bad. I look at Australia and they'll be disappointed at the moment, England will be disappointed. So while we're disappointed we're still managing to do things that are positive."

Hansen felt the All Blacks were perhaps five per cent off in Wellington because they didn't possess the fear in the belly from the week before. Benjamin Fall's red card after 12 minutes would have increased their comfort levels and such are the small margins at this level the All Blacks stuttered their way to an extremely disappointing victory.

Win they did, though, something Australia couldn't manage against Ireland, with England falling again to South Africa – their fifth consecutive defeat under Eddie Jones, who described the latest in Bloemfontein as a "horror show".

Hansen admitted the selectors erred in sticking with the same match-day 23 because they under-estimated the toll the first test had taken on many of their forwards who had gone into the match under-done and they paid for it in Wellington.

He and his fellow selectors will have no choice but to go with new combinations in Dunedin due to the injuries to loose forwards Liam Squire and Vaea Fifita, both of whom are probably out with shoulder and head injuries respectively. Fellow flanker Sam Cane is due for a rest, too.

There will be an injection of inexperience, with uncapped flanker Shannon Frizell likely to be heavily involved and probably from the start.

The All Blacks will hope that brings enthusiasm and a return to the sharp edge which characterised their approach at Eden Park. If not, a French team with all players on the field at all times - something they haven't managed yet - could pose some awkward questions.