Kieran Read is adamant New Zealand will need to be better than they were this autumn when they return to British shores in less than a year’s time for the Rugby World Cup.
Three straight victories since arriving from Chicago, where they had smashed the USA, would suggest the All Blacks know all they need in order to defending the Webb Ellis Cup next year.
After seeing off England 24-21 at Twickenham, they defeated Scotland 24-16 in Edinburgh and then rounded off their tour with a blistering finish to beat Wales 34-16 in Cardiff.
Read was among the scorers as the All Blacks scored 19 unanswered points in seven minutes against Wales, who would have been hopeful of victory after leading 16-15.
And so New Zealand will return in less than a year’s time as the World Cup favourites but back-row Read insists the difference between living up to their billing and not will require work.
“I think we will need to be better,” Read told Talking Rugby Union. “We will take a few lessons out of the teams we’ve played up here the last few weeks. We will have to adapt to who we play.
“It's tight at the top. Anyone in the top six or seven nations are good enough. We have just to keep playing well and keep improving. The All Blacks is the team you want to play for, and when you come in you want to add to the legacy that has gone before you.
“The expectation is always there as an All Black side. When you run out you have got to win that game, no matter who you are playing against. That is the expectation we have as players and as a team every week.
“You make sure you prepare as best you can, and in the end it is about going out there and playing well. There are really no excuses from our point of view.”