By Gregor Paul in Rome
A bit like reports of Mark Twain's death, the All Blacks attack game has prematurely been declared cold on the slab after difficult tests against England and Ireland.
They showed in Rome they can still do pass and catch, off the cuff rugby, better than any team on the planet.
It was maybe more of a devastating result than it was performance but there was enough good football to feel content that all is not wrong in their world.
There was confirmation that in Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie and Richie Mo'unga the All Blacks have three exceptional rugby players.
The fact the All Blacks haven't quite found a way to properly harness the power of all three seems like the sort of first world rugby drama most other teams would love to have.
There is a ridiculous amount of creative talent among them and in Rome they showed plenty of it. Natural, instinctive footballers are the sorts that win World Cups and while there will be differing views on whether they are right, the All Blacks coaches are clearly determined to find a way to accommodate all three of them and go to Japan next year with an extraordinary range of attacking weapons.
And who can blame them? When the All Blacks find a way to generate momentum and space, they are just about unstoppable.
They have a forgotten weapon in Jordie Barrett whose confidence will have jumped as a result of a polished and impressive outing that saw him equal his brother's feat earlier this year of scoring four tries in a test.
They have a supremely composed and clever footballer in Anton Lienert-Brown and a rejuvenated Dane Coles who will add something special next year now that he's returning to full fitness and form.
Plenty of good teams come to Italy and grind their way to unconvincing victories and there they were, rattling up 60 points almost.
And that was the point of the exercise in many ways. The victory was, probably, never in doubt and the big hope was that the All Blacks would show a greater ability to build cohesion and flow in their structured play.
There was much made in the loss to Ireland about the fact the All Blacks are trying to evolve their attacking strategy. It's not a radical or dramatic conversion – they are simply trying to build more variation into their structured play to make them harder to read.
You could get all caught up in the detail of it – two man pods, slip passes, going out the back door and all the going jargon, but the bottom line is the All Blacks feel that they have become a little predictable in the way they work the ball off set piece.
So they are trying to vary what they do more and it's not that the players don't understand the way they are trying to play – more they haven't yet been able to get everyone on the same page at the same time.
That was the case in Ireland and at times it was visible in Italy when the initial wave of runners weren't expecting the ball and yet it came at them.
The pleasing part from a coaching perspective is that the lack of cohesion became less obvious as the game wore on and it looked as if there was better ability to pick when and where the ball should be going.
The key was seeing early when to use the runners behind the first wave as that was the missing ingredient against Ireland.
Too often Brodie Retallick was smashed on the gainline, partly because he was short of energy and partly because half the time he wasn't supposed to get the ball.
Italy offered the All Blacks considerably more time and space in which to play than either England or Ireland did, but that in some ways misses the point.
If the All Blacks can enjoy greater cohesion through better continuous option-taking, they believe they will create space against every team they play.
Hence their desire to persevere with their evolution and the trick is to not fret too much about what it all looks like now, but to wait to see if the All Blacks are able to build a more varied and disguised game by the World Cup.
Italy 3 (T. Allan pen)
New Zealand 66 (TJ Perenara, D. McKenzie (3), J. Barrett (4), N. Laumape, B. Barrett tries; B. Barrett 5 cons; R. Mo'unga 2 cons)