McCaw: No going back
Auckland - All Blacks captain Richie McCaw warned his team against complacency in their remaining Tri-Nations matches after a polished performance was enough to beat South Africa 32-12 at Eden Park on Saturday.
New Zealand, who had lost their last three matches to the world champions, played a high-tempo, aggressive game in the competition's opener, forcing the Springboks into mistakes as they scored four tries to none.
"Without getting ahead of ourselves, I think that's the benchmark now, and there are no excuses to go back from that," McCaw told reporters.
"If we are going to be successful in this Tri-Nations we have to play like that every week."
The openside flank, who combined well with Kieran Read and Jerome Kaino to blunt the impact of the massive Springboks loose forwards, said he felt the All Blacks had finally put in a complete performance on Saturday.
"We didn't let them off the hook, which was good," McCaw said. "We kept it on for 80 minutes, which I was pretty happy with.
"We probably had glimpses of it in the previous three (Tests, in June) but didn't keep it on for the full 80 (minutes), so that is something I was most proud of."
All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen said the three successive defeats to South Africa in the Tri-Nations last year had been an important motivation for the performance on Saturday.
"I think the key to this result was the 3-0 last year," Hansen said. "A lot of people have been waiting to play this test match.
"A lot of work and thought went into it, but...we have to do it again next week and that's the exciting thing - we don't have to wait 12 months, it's only seven days to see if we can repeat it."
Springboks captain John Smit said his side had not "shown up" at Eden Park, but that he was not panicking ahead of next Saturday's second match, in Wellington.
"Our minds were just not in the right places today," Smit said. "You can look at the game 100 times and over-analyse it but there were many things we did that were out of character.
"The good thing is we can't get any worse and just losing will be (enough) motivation for (next) week.
"We are a team of high standards and as long as we can learn from these poor defeats then we will keep growing, but this was a real disappointment for us."