If there was one bright spark amid the drawn Bledisloe Cup opener that sucked the wind from the new All Blacks era it came in the form of Caleb Clarke.
Ian Foster has plenty to ponder as he reviews the flat first up performance of his tenure but if he is searching to unleash power, he need look no further than Clarke's impressive debut off the bench.
Maybe the All Blacks' lack of collective physical dominance and tactical execution against the Wallabies can be attributed to the near one year absence from the test arena, or the fact they last played in the North and South match some five weeks ago.
Yet this is not the time for excuses. The All Blacks were fortunate with two refereeing decisions – Rieko Ioane appearing to step out in the lead up to Jordie Barrett's opening try and Tupou Vaa'i stealing an illegal turnover on his line at the death – before blowing several of their own chances to win.
The All Blacks will ask the hard questions of each other following the damp, deflating draw, which Patrick Tuipulotu described as akin to a loss, and seek to vastly improve before Sunday's next Bledisloe at Eden Park, their final test of the year at home.
There were many issues for the All Blacks in wet and windy Wellington, the lack of dominant carries and the back three struggling to defuse high kicks in difficult conditions two examples, while the scrum, lineout pressure and Sam Cane's defensive performance offer encouragement for a swift and much-needed response.
Perhaps the late change that forced Beauden Barrett to withdraw from fullback with a minor Achilles injury and Damian McKenzie coming in for his first test in almost two years caused some disruption.
Barrett is expected to return this week which will take some of the playmaking responsibility off Richie Mo'unga. While Mo'unga often had to contend with static ball, and copped several late hits, he did not ignite the All Blacks attack in the same vein he does the Crusaders.
The other change the All Blacks must consider is handing Clarke his maiden start. In his first test at the helm Foster largely opted for experience – a selection philosophy that extended to Jordie Barrett and George Bridge starting on the wings.
Bridge made one notable bust off an inside ball from Codie Taylor after a set lineout move in the second half that ended with Aaron Smith finishing superbly in the corner by pushing off opposing halfback Nic White.
Otherwise, though, Clarke offered more impact than Bridge with his second half cameo.
The Blues wing is an imposing presence on the left edge. Just as he did throughout Super Rugby Aotearoa, Clarke used his size and physicality to power through defenders whenever the ball came his way.
Far from overawed, he looked born for the test arena.
Clarke struggled to shake the ball he bobbled off the post after Reece Hodge's huge 53 metre hoof hit the upright but he can take great pride in his first performance. He did more than enough with several damaging carries to put serious heat on starting wingers.
"I'm still buzzing but the one thing that sticks out for me is dropping that last penalty off the post," Clarke said. "I'm just glad to tick off something so big in my life and get it to do alongside my mates, Paddy Tuipulotu and Hoskins Sotutu, people I grew up with. It's so special.
"When they got that penalty on halfway I was hoping it was going to miss and it did but I ended up dropping the ball off the post. First my heart sank, the first thing I actually thought 'did I just lose us the game'. Then we fought back and defended our line really well.
"I was hoping we weren't going to get penalised then the turnover happened. I was keen to attack, to get that first win, and I thought we would when we were right on their line.
"It was quite the emotional roller-coaster for me personally because it started off with a dropped ball and ended right on their line. I'm still progressing it all but real grateful to be here.
"That first run I was just thinking don't drop the ball. Now I've got that first taste I want more. I'll see what Fozzie has to say but I'm very grateful to get on the field."
The time is now to hand Clarke a starting test debut.