Backing up a big performance with one of equal accuracy and intensity has been an elusive goal for the All Blacks in recent times.
It's an understandable trait. Complacency can be a creeping vine and a fast growing one when the public and media are collectively patting you on the back.
As recently as June the All Blacks followed a 30-0 thrashing of France with a shaky third test effort in New Plymouth.
Last year the 42-10 bullocking of Ireland in Auckland preceded a last gasp escape in Christchurch and the 8-7 World Cup final in 2011 came off the back a brilliant demolition of the Wallabies.
And so it has been in the build up to tonight's Bledisloe Cup rematch in Wellington for an All Black side that's been heralded in the wake of their 47-29 win in Sydney.
The adversity of losing two first five-eighths and Tony Woodcock's 100th test cap provide obvious points of reference, but captain Richie McCaw hopes brutal honesty will drive the side at Westpac Stadium.
''First thing was we were pretty honest about our performance last week. Yep the scoreboard looked okay, but there were things we weren't happy with.
''We made sure we didn't just gloss over them. The first couple of days the boys went about their work to hopeful rectify those things.
''I think the attitude has been pretty good. The guys, especially the guys who have been around a while, understand if you don't get the prep right things can change real quick.''
McCaw should know as he prepares for his 118th test, a feat that will equal the total set by France's Fabien Pelous.
The message seems to have gotten through to the All Blacks less experienced crew. Lock Brodie Retallick is not happy with how the lineout functioned in Sydney, Aaron Smith is peeved at his two crooked scrum feeds and Owen Franks believes the set piece was not steady enough for his liking.
McCaw also knows the Wallabies will come out firing after a week of criticism. It's worth noting the All Blacks flat 18-all draw with Australia in Brisbane last year was the test that followed the intensity of a 32-16 win in Soweto a fortnight prior.
And Australian captain James Horwill left no doubt about how motivated he was to prove wrong those who feel the trans-Tasman rivalry has become too predictable.
''I hate losing. Everyone hates losing. It's been too long since we had the Bledisloe Cup and for us to hold it we have to win tomorrow night. It's not too technical,'' he said yesterday.
Australia's lean trot has seen them beat the All Blacks just three times in the past 20 tests between the sides dating back to 2007 with one draw.
The Bledisloe Cup has been in Kiwi hands since 2002, so long that many have forgotten the Wallabies had a strangle hold for the preceding five seasons.
McCaw, Woodcock and hooker Andrew Hore no how quickly the worm can turn. The trio's test careers began in the tail end of a stretch between 1998 and 2002 that saw Australia win eight of 11 tests.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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