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Stronger Australian scrum makes mark

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Sportal.co.nz     21 Aug 2012     Getty Images

Early in the game the home pack had managed to put the All Blacks 'under some heat', Mealamu said.

"We got better as the game went on as well but I think they've definitely improved from where they have been," he said.

Mealamu wasn't overly concerned with the penalties resulting from scrums, they were due to technical issues more than anything else, he said.

"We'll have to get better at that because, obviously, those penalties can turn into points if they are in the wrong position."

He was in agreement with coach Steve Hansen about the poor quality of ball stemming from lineouts.

"It's all very winning ball but if you can't use it well...we've got make sure we get the delivery right. We'll look to improve there, and we're not far off," he said.

It was still nice getting up from a scrum and seeing the backs going over for tries.

"The best part of attack is when it is one-on-one for those backs," he said.

The All Blacks would also have the second Test against Ireland, when they scrambled to a win after a Dan Carter dropped goal, on their minds on Saturday. It had been a good lesson for the side and had not been forgotten, Mealamu said.

Loose forward Victor Vito said the team was taking the view the win was by no means perfect and after recovery on Monday it would be back to the drawing board to recover.

While the Test had been as physically intense as all games against Australia the team had come through well. There was satisfaction with the defensive effort and having targeted pinning the Australians behind the advantage line there was delight in having been able to do that.

However, while the All Blacks knew they hadn't played as well as they could have they knew the Australians could be a lot more dangerous than they showed.

"They were nowhere near their best rugby and we know they are going to come back a lot harder and a lot more intense the next time around so we're pretty much barring up for that," he said.

With injury concerns for flanker David Pocock could see him out of the game, there were some talented emerging loose forwards in Australia who would relish the chance for a Test at Eden Park, Vito said.

"It's always an opportunity for someone else to stake a claim any time someone goes down so if anything, it is a bit more of a risk for us to not know more on the player we are going up against," he said.

And while the Australians hadn't won at Eden Park since 1986, Vito said the reason the All Blacks had managed that advantage was because they took the Australian threat so seriously.

"They've got a bit of history against them but that makes it a lot more exciting for a lot of their players as well. It's typical Aussies, they want to get one over us and it is going to be no different this week," he said.