Overcoming a fired-up Argentine team for a 39-22 Investec Rugby Championship win, the All Blacks had the benefit of their lesser lights gaining a reminder of the demands of Test play while also unleashing a new star in the shape of flanker Vaea Fifita.
A Bledisloe Cup contest fit to rank with all the great tussles between Australia and New Zealand was played out in Dunedin on Saturday before the All Blacks claimed a 35-29 Investec Rugby Championship win three minutes from time.
Unable to maintain their dazzling start to the first half which saw three tries in the first 30 minutes, the Hurricanes were beaten 44–29 in their semi-final against the Lions at Ellis Park on Sunday (NZT).
Refusing to be bowed by last minute personnel changes the Hurricanes punished Crusaders indiscipline to claim a 31-22 win in Wellington ending the Crusaders unbeaten run through the season while also possibly denying them top qualifying place.
World Rugby's player of the year last season Beauden Barrett admitted to drawing inspiration from the performance of All Blacks captain Kieran Read during the 30-15 first Test win over the British & Irish Lions in Auckland on Saturday.
Competitiveness within the All Blacks squad is only helping to boost the side's preparedness for their forthcoming series against the British & Irish Lions and Friday's Test with Samoa is likely to demonstrate that point.