One hand on Bledisloe Cup but still plenty to ponder for All Blacks

One up in the series and with one hand on the Bledisloe Cup, the All Blacks have plenty to ponder after halfback Aaron Smith's 100th test.

The hosts won Saturday's opener 33-25 over the Wallabies in Auckland, leaving the visitors needing to break a 35 year hoodoo at Eden Park this weekend to have any hope of winning back the trophy for the first time since 2002.

It was a far from flawless display from New Zealand but they celebrated Aaron Smith becoming the 10th All Blacks centurion with a win and despite the patchy performance, it was still an occasion he'll never forget.

"It was a dream and goal of mine so it's surreal it's happened," Smith said.

"I can remember my first test here in 2012 and it's flown by. It's been a high stress week with trying to keep the emotions in check and sort the family, the tickets, the transport but most importantly I'm really happy we won. It was an awesome test match to be part of so it's a really nice feeling to win on Eden Park.

"It (100th test) was sort of the number that I was trying not to think about for so long, sort of three of four years. I'm just really happy."

Smith was presented his silver cap for 100 tests by former captain Kieran Read and soaked up the moment with fellow Fielding High School product, good friend and current All Blacks skipper, Sam Whitelock.

"I always knew Sam was going to make it. He was the schoolboy star and the man, I can't believe I even said that. But, it's surreal, from little old Fielding.

" remember the open day and we were both year eight and I yelled out I was like, 'Are you gona come here, bro?' and he was like, 'Yep', and I was like, 'Sweet! See you next year!' and then we were in the same group class all through school and then played all our rugby together.

I made my first New Zealand team with him, under 20s. I'm just grateful for our friendship."

While happy to have drawn first blood, coach Ian Foster concedes they must improve in many facets of the game, including their slow start and poor finish, where they leaked three unanswered tries to the end the game.

"At 33-8 we should have done better but at the end of the day it's a Bledisloe Cup series; we've put a stake in the ground, we're 1-0 up.

"It keeps life pretty interesting for a coach. There's clearly plenty to work on in those spells but it's a first test and the Bled was always going to be massive. They came over here very well prepared and threw everything at us. We were doing really well but it's disappointing we take a lot of pride in how we finish. There's some things we'll take away to work on."

The All Blacks were on the wrong side of an 18-9 penalty count in the Bledisloe opener.

Forwards coach John Plumtree said they must work on their discipline and adjust to the new rules and refereeing of the breakdown if they're to be able to provide the kind of quick ball they want to the backs.

"I haven't been through every penalty and what it was for. But, clearly it's something we will address. If you're going to concede a big penalty count, you're going to lose territory and against a side like Australia who love attacking, that's not ideal.

Foster made similar comments post match.

"There was enough there that was controllable by us. Nothing to attribute to new laws. If you're offside, you're offside. That's plain and simple and we've got to get better at that.

The loss means Australia must win this weekend's second test at Eden park have any chance of winning the series, but the Wallabies captain Michael Hooper believes their performance in game one gives them hope.

"We've been a team that's finished strong so far this year which is really pleasing. We've got plenty of heart," captain Michael Hooper said. "We've just got to do it for longer."

The eight point defeat in Auckland may well have been different for the Wallabies if it wasn't for first five Noah Lolesio missing five of his seven shots at goal or 12 potential points.

Coach Dave Rennie is standing by his playmaker.

"He was sensational in the French series and you don't go from an ace goal kicker to a novice overnight," Rennie said.

"Tough conditions, we saw Richie (Mo'unga) miss as well. He kicked penalties in the French series to win the first and third test and one that should have won us the second one. Yes, he'll be disappointed.

"We've got a lot of faith in the kid. He's going to get better and better, he's 21."

It's been almost two decades since the Wallabies last held the Bledisloe, when Lolesio was a toddler, and they're up against history to amend that record, needing to snap an Eden Park losing streak that dates back to 1986.