The exercise for the All Blacks was as much about finding out about their emerging talent as it was beating in Japan, and they leave Tokyo knowing plenty about some whom they knew previously little.

From the little-known category shot out George Bridge and Jackson Hemopo.

The former gave the impression he was more than comfortable in test football – that he couldn't see that there was much difference between a full-scale international and Mitre 10 Cup.

Two tries and a definite assist was a stunning return from 40 minutes and if Ben Smith does indeed head offshore after the World Cup, there's a ready-made replacement for him.


Hemopo, who has been with the All Blacks for much of the year without featuring a great deal, took much treasured game time and threw himself into everything.

Part of the reason the All Blacks don't see him as a lock – they picked him there in Tokyo because they had no one else – is that he's not quite big enough to fulfill the role at test level.

Not that anyone would know the way he played. He had the impact of a bigger athlete the way he held men up in the tackle and held his body shape when competing for the ball.

And in some regards it won't matter too much what position he plays as he's the sort of abrasive footballer the All Blacks will make good use of if they send him out for the last 20 minutes of a bigger test.

From the already well-known brigade Richie Mo'unga and Ngani Laumape confirmed their standing as players of the future – and in the case of the former, a player very much for the present.

But the list of who impressed could actually be extended to just about everyone who played. No one failed to fire and no one looked overawed or troubled by the step up to test rugby.

"There was a fair amount of risk going into this game but we felt as a management group that the rewards were going to be bigger than the risk and a number of people have done themselves really proud tonight," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

"There is a large group who may not play in the next 12 months for the All Blacks but they will certainly be involved in the future because of the quality they showed.


"We gave opportunities and as a selector we learned a lot about a lot of people this week and that has been great."

One of the things they learned is that Jordie Barrett has a bit of starch in character as having returned to the starting side after a difficult last outing against South Africa in Wellington, his first clearance kick was charged down and Japan scored.

It could have been a moment to break the young man, but he held it all together, took some high balls, made some big tackles and started to wield greater influence as the game wore on.

"I don't think it was a little bit of mental fortitude - it was a lot," said Hansen on whether he felt Barrett had shown some resilience.

"And to start the test match like he did tonight was a wonderful opportunity for him to learn. It is like a gift and we saw him come through the other side of it.

"Jordie handled it pretty well he is still learning he is young and we are getting there. He is going to be okay."

And so are Japan going to be okay. They may not have liked the final look of the scoreboard but they scored five tries against the All Blacks and with a little bit more composure and awareness, it could have been more.

"They are getting better and better all the time," said Hansen. "Anyone who came to the game would have enjoyed what they saw from Japan. There was a little bit of razzle dazzle and they were physical and if you get it wrong they will hurt you.

"We have seen them beat South Africa and beat France and they are building. If they embrace the challenge of playing in their own country I think they will go well [at the World Cup]."