Dan Carter admitted he could not have dreamed of a better way to bow out on home soil in an All Black jersey after inspiring his side to a 41-13 win over Australia last weekend.
Carter created the first try of the game for Dane Coles while also notching 14 points from the kicking tee as Steve Hansen’s troops made amends for their narrow defeat in Sydney the week before.
The fly-half had come in for criticism in some quarters for his showing in the defeat on Australian soil, the first time the Wallabies had beaten the All Blacks since 2011.
But after a week to lick their wounds the Kiwi side bounced back in impressive fashion, Ma’a Nonu crossing twice and Conrad Smith also on the scoresheet in an emphatic win to retain the Bledisloe Cup.
And with a World Cup around the corner for the All Blacks, Carter admitted a return to basics had heralded his fine showing at Eden Park, where the British & Irish Lions will face New Zealand twice in 2017.
"A lot of it was being clear and calm and just driving this team," Carter said. "That was the big focus he gave to me – to direct this team like it was mine and to take control and I felt I did that for most of the night.
"I put a lot more expectation and pressure on myself compared to the media or public. I know when I'm playing well and what I want to achieve. As long as you work hard, which I have been, you reap the rewards.
“I've had some great memories playing in New Zealand and especially at Eden Park. To think I won't be playing in the black jersey in New Zealand again – to have a special performance like that … is something I will cherish for a long time."
Elsewhere South Africa gained a measure of revenge for their defeat to Argentina in the Rugby Championship as they cruised to a 26-12 win in Buenos Aires.
The Springboks crossed for two tries in the victory through Bryan Habana and Lwazi Mvovo while Pat Lambie impressed at fly-half.
Nicolas Sanchez kicked four penalties in defeat for the Pumas who will nonetheless head into the World Cup full of confidence after an encouraging four games against southern hemisphere opposition.
Fans are now able to guarantee their place on the 2017 Tour to New Zealand with a fully refundable £250 Priority Access Pass for the official supporter packages. Guarantee your place at the front of the queue when ticket-inclusive travel packages go on sale during the 2015/16 season, and also receive an exclusive invite to meet the Lions Head Coach before their depart for New Zealand. With exclusive access to special events, flights and hotels, it's the genuine Lions experience – click here for more details.