Not bad for a second string team.

What luxury the All Blacks have to promote such quality deputies.

Inexperience was evident in concerning defensive lapses. The All Blacks, forced to make a mountain of tackles, were broken too regularly after deception and changes of angles allowed mismatches to be exploited, leaving Scott McLeod with plenty to ponder in his area of responsibility.

But when you consider the world-class status of those left out – Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Sam Cane, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane – and the seven changes made this was never going to be a perfect performance.


Further adjustments were required after the All Blacks lost Brodie Retallick, the world's best lock, and Ngani Laumape, both after 10 minutes to injury. This heaped more pressure on others to take the lead.

All eyes on Richie Mo'unga's maiden test start, Shannon Frizell - with 16 carries for 68m, two clean breaks, five defenders beaten and 16 tackles - and big Karl Tu'inukuafe instead stole the show.

As many before him have gleaned, Mo'unga learned test rugby is a big step up. His was not a bad starting debut by any means but not as polished as perhaps he would have envisioned.

Mo'unga appeared nervous at times. He missed touch twice, and lost the ball back over his line. His frequent skip balls to put those outside him in space, and ability to challenge the line, came as confidence eventually grew.

Still, it was not the same completely composed display we have become accustomed to witnessing from Mo'unga at the Crusaders over the past two seasons.

First five-eighth is a role where time in the saddle is needed more than anywhere. And no doubt, Mo'unga will be better for this outing.

Tu'inukuafe has been a revelation for the All Blacks this season. Once again, as Nelson took centre stage for the first time, his scrummaging power came to the fore. Not just against any opponents, either. One in the Pumas formerly vaunted for their prowess in this area.

Frizell, the adopted local lad from Tonga, grabbed his chance with several influential carries.


Over the past six years the All Blacks have honed the subtle skill of employing forwards to pass at or just before the line.

There is no-one better at this than Scott Barrett. Twice he laid on perfect short balls for Frizell, who ran great lines to hit holes. Legs pumping, so often he put the All Blacks on the front foot.

Frizell didn't always make the right decisions – throwing one stray offload and losing the ball straight after halftime which led to Nicolas Sanchez's try.

But in an immensely competitive position, with Liam Squire to come back, Vaea Fifita left out of the squad and Jackson Hemopo lurking, Frizell proved he is more than ready.

Outside his efforts with ball in hand Frizell​ also gained one breakdown turnover and featured often in support.

His try, following a long, patient build-up from the pack, was just reward for an outstanding 80 minute effort. From close range Pumas fullback Emiliano Boffelli never stood a chance.

As they always are, the All Blacks were lethal on the counter attack. You just can't give this team any chance to flick the switch from defence to attack.


Amongst it all Jack Goodhue, Ben Smith, Ardie Savea and TJ Perenara, with two tries and one saved, were among the All Blacks' best.

Goodhue in particular continues to apply major pressure to the midfield incumbents. He is just one of the new breed, though.

For others this experience will prove invaluable. And so grows the All Blacks' unrivaled depth.

How other test nations must watch on with envy.