NEW ZEALAND 34
In a year of winning ugly, it was fitting the All Blacks had to graft and grind yet another victory that owed everything to their character and resilience.
They eased out in the end, won by a couple of lengths, and the fact they did, was a big statement about how tough they are to beat at the moment.
The game was genuinely in the balance for 68 minutes and then wham, wham - two quick tries and the All Blacks were looking at a long and glorious summer.
They had to dig deep to get home. They were rattled for much of the game. Their basic skills were all over the shop at times and they bordered on frantic.
The control, poise and flow they wanted - well that just wouldn't come. They couldn't stop making mistakes. They couldn't get the Welsh pack on the back foot - other than the scrum where the All Blacks destroyed their hosts - and without quick ball, they made decisions that weren't great and executed poorly.
But what they did was continue to believe. They didn't panic. They weathered the storm and tidied things up in the final quarter. They kicked more. They kicked better, too and played more rugby in the right place. With that, when they created opportunity they took it. They stayed in the game and then blew Wales away in the last 10 minutes. That's pressure football at its best and a sign this team are in great shape for when they come back here next year.
And when they come back - the pressure will be even greater. But the All Blacks know that - they realise that every team they face finds about 30 per cent extra. They never strike an opponent on a bad day and the pressure Wales applied was strong and relentless.
That made life tough. Tougher than perhaps can be appreciated when the world rankings of the two are compared. There's a gap between them but not so much on days like this when Wales empty the tank.
It was a smartly executed and well thought out gameplan by Wales. They used the speed of their rush defence to prevent the All Blacks from getting wide. What they also managed to do was prevent them from working the pop pods round the fringes to create the momentum and quick ball that they need.
They also didn't worry about taking the All Blacks on at the whole pass and run thing everyone else feels they need to give a go. Some teams, such as England, seem to do it almost as if they believe it's kind of chicken not to have a go. Not Wales. And good on them for playing rugby that worked for them and not the All Blacks.
They kicked and they kicked. Not always smart against the All Blacks, but effective when done as well as it was. New Zealand's back three didn't have time or space to cut loose and if that was frustrating, it was only a patch on how they must have felt with all the delays.
Not the stoppages ... they were simply a consequence of so many knock-ons, forward passes and penalties. But the constant supposed injuries and legions of water boys and medics that came with every half break were more than tedious and somewhat obvious.
By the second half they were pausing to dry their hair - seriously.
Teams get away with what they can get away and again, Wales, perhaps a little cynically, used everything they could to work for them. That's test football - anything goes until the referee says otherwise.
OPTA MATCH STATS