Steve Hansen and the All Black coaches decision to stage tonight's glorified training run against Counties-Manukau and Auckland turned out to be an astute call with the two provincial outfits providing them with a stern inspection.
As expected Richie McCaw's men emerged triumphant from both contests, overcoming Counties-Manukau 12-0 in the first match before getting over Auckland 14-5 in the second.
As the narrow scoreline's suggest, the World Cup champions did not have it all their own way however, with both of the ITM Cup sides fronting up and giving it their all against their far more illustrious opponents.
Counties-Manukau acquitted themselves well throughout their 20-minute spell, playing much of the match in All Blacks territory, however the All Blacks capitalised on their two clear chances to notch tries to wingers Julian Savea and Cory Jane.
Savea crossed in the opening minutes after Ma'a Nonu found himself in space before feeding his outsides to see two-Test Savea cross in the corner.
From then on the All Blacks battled against a determined DJ Forbes-led Steelers outfit, who tackled with venom and ran the ball with gusto.
New Zealand Sevens star Frank Halai found room down the right flank and only desperate defence from the All Blacks kept them scoreless.
Dan Carter showed his class with every touch, his passing and kicking all executed with time and accuracy, allowing the All Blacks to get out of trouble on several occasions.
The next time the All Blacks were camped down in the Counties half they made the most of it; quick ruck ball gave Jane space to dot down on his return to action after missing the June Tests through injury.
Carter banged the conversion over from near touch before full-time blew and he departed for Piri Weepu to take his place for the stint against Auckland.
It was a curious sight to see Keven Mealamu, playing at flanker with Andrew Hore on at hooker, take on his home province which included 13 Blues players in a strong line-up.
Auckland drew first blood when halfback and former-All Black Alby Mathewson darted over from a ruck to score the only try of the night against the All Blacks.
Once more the All Blacks found themselves busy repelling raid after raid as the Auckland boys seemed determined to notch an unlikely win.
It fell apart for Daniel Braid's men when from a scrum, Hosea Gear ran straight and hard and directly through Gareth Anscombe's tackle to score under the posts.
Savea then sealed the result when he backed up another Gear run deep into Auckland's 22 to collect the ruck ball and take it around under the bar for his second try of the night.
Piri Weepu's second conversion was the final play of the night with the All Blacks relieved to have come away with the win.
The All Blacks now turn their attention towards next weekend's clash against the Wallabies with the Rugby Championship starting in Sydney on Saturday.