DAVID LONG 21/08/2012
The fact the All Blacks were in a miserable mood yesterday, despite just beating the world's second highest ranked team in their own backyard, speaks volumes of the standards still being expected of this side.
Getting an away win, stopping the Wallabies from getting a bonus point and having one hand back on the Bledisloe Cup could be deemed as a good night's work in Sydney, but Victor Vito says the team still feels disappointed.
"It is because, in terms of our standards, we probably didn't play as well as we could have," said Vito, who was an unused sub on the night.
"But on the other side of that, we also know that Australia are a lot more dangerous than they were and they were nowhere near their best rugby.
"We know they're going to come back a lot harder and with a lot more intent the next time around and we're barring up for that.
"We're pretty buoyed to have got the result but at the end of the day, there is still a lot to improve on and it was by no means a perfect performance."
The battle as to who will be the All Blacks' long-term blindside flanker was no clearer after last weekend's test.
Liam Messam played well but the selectors may feel the need to give Vito or Adam Thomson a go in Saturday's return test at Eden Park.
Vito started the June series, as the front runner to be Jerome Kaino's long-term replacement, but a knee injury in the first test against Ireland gave others an opportunity.
"It is definitely getting harder to crack in there," Vito said.
"But at the same time it is always annoying not being able to run out there, join your brothers and play against the Aussies.
"But the result was the right result, we won and there aren't any injuries at the moment."
It was confirmed yesterday that the Wallabies captain David Pocock will miss Saturday's test because of a knee injury picked up last weekend.
Pocock and Richie McCaw are the best to No 7s in the world and for any side losing one of them is a bitter blow.
But for Australia, the fall off isn't as big as it would have been in the past as they have two highly promising openside flankers in their squad, in the likes of Liam Gill and Michael Hooper.
Hooper had an exceptionally good season for the Brumbies and put in a man-of-the-match performance when they beat the Hurricanes in Wellington this year.
However, what Hooper may have in talent, he is lacking in experience and it is in this department where Pocock will be missed most.
"He [Pocock] is a massive loss to them, but they have got quite a few talented players who can put their hands up and this is always an opportunity for someone else to stake a claim," Vito said.
"If anything, it's more of a risk for us to not know more about the player we're going up against."