Cape Town - All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen praised his team's fighting spirit after their victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday.
New Zealand's emerging talent were given a test by the Barbarians but they responded and achieved a 31-22 win to get their end-of-year tour off to a perfect start.
The game was marking 125 years of New Zealand Rugby and it contained all the elements of Barbarians rugby where there was more emphasis on enjoyment and positive play.
The Barbarians achieved that when scoring three tries to two to lead at halftime 17-10. But the All Blacks resorted to more traditional play to regain the initiative in the second half.
Hansen said after the game it had been a perfect game for the All Blacks. The younger players were given the chance to see how they would perform under pressure and in front of a big crowd.
"They allowed themselves to be put under pressure 10 points down and to come back, I thought they did well and showed composure," Hansen told Sky Sports.
"Once we started playing our own game after half-time and sticking to the structures we got reward."
With a newer squad there were frustrations they had to learn to work through if they were to adjust and adapt a lot quicker next time it happened.
"People have stepped up for us and now we look forward to the three Test matches," said Hansen.
All Blacks captain Beauden Barrett said he learnt a lot from having to lead the team in the course of the game and would be a better vice-captain for regular skipper Kieran Read in the future.
The side had felt flat in the first half and had struggled to get their structure. They had talked all week about the festival nature of the game and being prepared for that.
"I thought in the second half we brought a bit of energy, we had done the basics well and that was pleasing," said Barrett.
Barbarians captain and former All Black Andy Ellis said he hoped the crowd had enjoyed the game. They had come out to have some fun and play some good rugby.
"We gave ourselves a chance at half-time but the All Blacks were always going to come back strong," explained Ellis.
"There was that five or six minutes when we dropped a couple of high balls and in big games it's just those small moments that often turn a game."