James Gemmell says that controlling the pace of the game is crucial for the Home Nations.
Last Updated: 15/06/12 11:50am
So it would seem the North-South divide remains largely intact.
Three-nil after the opening weekend is comprehensive, as is the fact that only Wales were within striking distance of their opposition in the last quarter of the match - and even then only for a few minutes.
But it's not all doom and gloom down south. If the travellers can rally for round two on Saturday, at least each team now know what's in store.
The major difference in Auckland and Brisbane was a control of pace. Up tempo on attack, slowing on defence, the All Blacks and Wallabies won because they had greater control over the speed at which the game was played.
This should come as no surprise. All those who watch Heineken Cup and Super Rugby will appreciate the difference in the speed of the game. The Southern Hemisphere competition may well lack the close-quartered intensity of European club rugby at its best, but Super Rugby players have developed the ability to make decisions and execute their skills at speed.
When it comes to the test arena they are able to increase their physical presence without compromising their skills, while it's much more difficult for the European-based players to do the same in reverse. Of course they are Test-ready in terms of contact and commitment, but on attack their skills tend not to trouble the Tri-Nations, and on defence they're "chasing shadows", as Brian O'Driscoll described it post-match at Eden Park.
Free reign for Ireland
Ireland came into the first Test with the All Blacks with the right idea. There's little point trying to suffocate the world champions, as they will find a weak point - be it through, over or around. So Declan Kidney gave his men free reign to take the Kiwis on at their own game, and for the first 20 minutes they were competitive and even threatening. True, the All Blacks were rusty to start, but Ireland's pace on the ball did expose space.
Unfortunately, as the All Blacks found their groove, Ireland's skills came unstuck, and the game was over as a contest midway through the first half. Suddenly the pace of the home side became too much to deal with, and Ireland were left floundering. If they want to succeed in any way in Christchurch, the visitors must stem and slow the flow of possession.
Much easier said than done, and another long night awaits, one feels.
Unlike Ireland, Wales started poorly and finished strong. This bodes better for the Grand-Slammers, who looked like they were caught cold by the brilliance of Will Genia et al, but they are surely ruing such an opportunity.
As far as match-ups go, this one is even, but once again it was the Wallabies' speed control that won the day.
On attack, Genia set the tone, using all those around him to truck or deceive, and with the speed of both the ball and his feet, almost single-handedly deconstructed the Welsh defensive line.
On defence it was David Pocock's turn, the young skipper firmly outplaying his esteemed opposite. Pocock stayed on the right side of referee Craig Joubert, while somehow finding himself on the wrong side of the ruck. Whether stealing or spoiling, Pocock slowed the flow of Welsh possession and nullified much of their attack as a result.
It was very disappointing from a Welsh perspective, because as far as European teams go, they like to play the most like the South.
In Melbourne on Saturday, Wales simply cannot let the Wallabies dictate the pace of the game from early on. Expect bigger games from Mike Phillips and Rhys Priestland, and hope for quieter games from David Pocock and Will Genia. Wales are a good chance, but will have to be markedly improved.
England need to exploit bok weakness
Over in Johannesburg, the proposition is not entirely different. South Africa do not build their game around speed, rather a more familiar physicality, and even though England knew full well what was coming, they were powerless to resist.
For success, however, we come back to speed. The Boks are less willing, and less able, than New Zealand and Australia to play at pace and England must try and exploit that weakness. The selection of Jonathan Joseph is a nod in the right direction.
If the home side dominate possession then they will dominate territory and pace as well - particularly at altitude - and England will struggle.
Lancaster's men are certainly still in with a chance, albeit slim.