Aaron Smith admits they didn't follow the game plan

The All Blacks were guilty of straying away from the pre-game plan against the Wallabies as well as a series of individual skill and discipline errors, says Aaron Smith.

Despite a 33-25 win in Bledisloe I, the All Blacks were put through an unflattering review on Monday, where players were held accountable for their mistakes.

However, Smith vowed the team's game managers wouldn’t repeat their tactical errors in Bledisloe II at Eden Park on Saturday.

“We had a plan around how we wanted to exit and get our forwards in the game early,” Smith told The Breakdown on Sky on Monday evening.

“But there was just so many opportunities. We fell into that trap of, ‘we could go on here, it’s hot here, we could do this’.

“But, we should have really got our forwards into the game, getting our loose forwards carrying early, cleaning rucks fast.

“And as you saw the first plays after halftime were direct, at them, we’re coming.

“That sets our game up. Our game drivers won’t do that again.”

While most of the attention after the All Blacks’ performance focused on the lack of discipline – they conceded 18 penalties, several of which were needless – Smith’s comments show that the No 10-No 12-No 15 axis of Richie Mo’unga, David Havili and Damian McKenzie needs to improve.

Smith also revealed he is in the defensive group during games, but the responsibility for delivering the messages on attack lies with the No 10s.

As a result, there will be an expectation that Mo’unga or Beauden Barrett will deliver a more measured first-half performance on Saturday, with more tactical kicking likely to turn the Wallabies around to put them under pressure.

That said, Smith was pleased with large parts of the All Blacks’ game, and believed the Wallabies only got into the contest on the back of mistakes from the home side.

“Our intensity was there, because we were so eager and ready for a physical battle, but maybe early on skills, our ability to see space, and maybe respecting the ball a bit, and respecting the Australians with their defence as well was missing in that first half.

“...but a lot of our penalties early and mistakes early were individual skill errors...not taking a step at the ruck, at the back of the lineouts giving away a penalty by whacking an arm.

“It’s controllable for us. The only reason we were under pressure was because we let them off the hook.

“We were putting them under so much pressure at set-piece time, but we were unable to capitalise.

Smith also had some advice for the younger players in squad: “Don’t jut read your good press.”

Modern players – especially in Super Rugby and at the All Blacks level – face significant scrutiny, particularly as social media platforms give supporters direct and instant access to the players.

However, the experience halfback said players had to take the good with the bad when it came to public assessments of their performances.

“It comes with time, and the old factor of, ‘do you read all your press, or do you read none?’

“If you do one or the other you’ve got to have a plan around it.

“If you read a lot of the articles, you've got to read the bad ones too. Take it for what it is.

“Our reviews are very honest, as well....but you take the good without the bad. Don’t just read just your good press is where I try to guide them [younger players].”