Embarrassed & Exposed: Where to now for Rennie's Wallabies?

After such a demoralising second half on Saturday night, it's hard to imagine how the Wallabies can pick themselves up for the third encounter with the All Blacks in a fortnight's time.

Conceding 36 second-half points, including 10 when Ardie Savea was sin-binned, was a complete capitulation and nowhere near the standard required at the highest levels of Test rugby.

While the Bledisloe Cup is gone for another year, all is not completely lost for Dave Rennie's men. They can now switch their focus entirely towards a Rugby Championship tournament where they do not have to leave Australian shores again.

A far better showing, even if it's not a win over the All Blacks in Perth, can start to repair the damage of a Test season that now reads 2-3. But the level of improvement needed to not only close within striking range of the All Blacks, but also compete with a hugely combative and confident Springboks whom they face after New Zealand, is huge.

So much of that improvement is tied to game management and, as a disappointed Dave Rennie and Michael Hooper both said after fulltime on Saturday night, the need to "treasure the ball".

"I just think it's a balance; we want to kick more, it's not a natural DNA of Wallaby players at the moment," Rennie said when asked about whether he needed to rein in his side's attacking ambition.

"So it's trying to get a balance to attacking, and trying to find some space [by kicking] and apply pressure through that. If you look at someone like South Africa who play that type of game, I don't think we're big enough to get into an arm wrestle with sides, so we've got to be able to play a balanced game.

"So that's the area I'm trying to develop."

That the Wallabies have conceded three runaway intercept tries in two Tests is unforgivable. That the two on Saturday night were from first phase after turnover ball even more so.

Give credit to the All Blacks, their defensive realignment before Rieko Ioane's try in the third minute of Saturday night's game was superb. But Lolesio's cut-out ball? Ridiculous.

Is it inexperience? Over-anxiousness? Both? Whatever the case, not only did the Wallabies butcher two turnover opportunities but intercepts cost them 14 points on Saturday night, and 21 in total across the two Tests in Auckland.

Compare that to the All Blacks who were able to exploit Rob Valetini's defensive error in the lead-up to Brodie Retallick's try before Richie Mo'unga simply carted the ball back at the Wallabies from Lolesio's poor exiting kick, allowing New Zealand to set their phases in motion and for Savea to score therafter.

They were black-and-white lessons of how to - and how not to use - turnover ball.

The other concerning feature of the Wallabies' second-half surrender was some of the defensive errors and general decision-making.

When you're up against the likes of Aaron Smith, Mo'unga and then Savea up front, players who are masters at exploiting that half-metre of extra space or a loose tackle, the consequences of such mistakes are going to be huge.

That was certainly the case when Smith exposed Darcy Swain's over-eagerness at the ruck, to turn what should have been a two-on-two down the short side into a two-on-one, bringing about the momentum-shifting try for Codie Taylor.

Taylor's other second-half try was just embarrassingly soft.

Later, the missed tackles of Taniela Tupou on Dalton Papalii, and then Tate McDermott and Tupou again on Savea, saw the All Blacks tear through the heart of the Wallabies' defence and Will Jordan finish in the corner.

The All Blacks exposed the Wallabies on the fringes and from turnover ball early, picked off the freebie intercepts and then hammered home their advantage with a dagger through the middle of Australia's heart.

David Havili's 83rd minute five-pointer, which ensured the All Blacks hit a new record number of points against Australia, provided one final insult to the Wallabies' tough two-week stay across the ditch.

Are there any positives to cling to, then?

Fortunately, there are few. And none more so than skipper Michael Hooper.

No one ever doubted what Brodie Retallick would do for the All Blacks on his return from Japan, but there were multiple figures across the game who thought Hooper's sabbatical would open up the opportunity for the chasing pack of Australian No. 7s.

But it couldn't be further from the truth. What Hooper had already demonstrated against France, he then underlined in New Zealand.

It was Hooper's break that gave Australia the field position for the scrums that led to McDermott's try just before the break, and who was there chasing Havili to the line with game long gone and the embarrassment already setting in? Hooper, again.

The strength of his delivery aside, the Wallabies have also unearthed a good one in McDermott. He is another No. 9 capable of holding up defenders, poking his head through the line, and then finishing try-scoring opportunities just like he did before the break. McDermott has two five-pointers in three Tests.

Andrew Kellaway is another Wallabies back with a bright future and someone who may yet find himself given an opportunity in his favoured fullback role. Kellaway's finish for the Wallabies' first try was excellent and aside from a late dropped ball in the lead-up to Havili's try, he has barely put a foot wrong in two Test starts on the wing.

Up front, Valetini made early inroads in his switch to No. 8 and Matt Philip was solid, but Lachie Swinton must offer more than just the odd big hit in defence if he is to be considered as a back-row starter. Swain, meanwhile, has learned about the step up from France to New Zealand.

Just how the Wallabies decide to use Samu Kerevi through the Rugby Championship carries huge intrigue, more so now following a Sydney Morning Herald report quoting Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos that the Giteau Law could be scrapped or at least set for an overhaul later this year.

Kerevi was tremendous when the Wallabies beat the All Blacks in Perth two years ago and looked in great nick during his stint with Australia's sevens team in Tokyo, but is that enough match fitness to walk straight back in at Test level? His time may come later in the Rugby Championship.

Just when Australia's Bledisloe time might come again, for now, simply isn't worth contemplating. In a week when they tried to put the pressure on the All Blacks, the Wallabies departed New Zealand on Sunday with their tail firmly back between their legs.

Rennie might have had a point as he tried to play down Kellaway's comments on the All Blacks aura from the winger's interview with the Big Sports Breakfast, but there is no doubting that both Kellaway and, earlier in the week, Jordan Uelese, suggested the pressure was well and truly on the All Blacks, that no New Zealander wanted to be "the team to lose at Eden Park".

That was asking for trouble.

"I think that whole bit of reporting was disappointing," Rennie said of Kellaway's interview. "So you've got a young player, who's played about three Tests, gets asked about playing the All Blacks at Eden Park, and over a five-minute interview, they pluck out three or four words to make a headline out of it.

"What Kells was saying is that last week he was heading into the unknown, 'the All Blacks at Eden Park, how tough was that, now we get to play them again at the same park,' now he knows what he's getting into.

"So incredibly disappointed for a Sydney reporter to make a massive headline out of that for a young player, who's just finding his was. I won't say any more on that, but clearly we're not going to try and entice the All Blacks to fire up more than they normally do.

"But as we said we respect the All Blacks, but we don't fear them. If we go in nervous and worried about playing them, you're going to finish second every time aren't you."

The Wallabies have now finished second in back-to-back Tests and will need to find huge improvements if they are to avoid a hat trick of defeats.

Australia's Test season is still only five games old but the early momentum they secured against an understrength France has been quashed completely.

The Wallabies, simply, must start again.