The All Blacks centre Conrad Smith says he's apologised to his team for receiving a yellow card in Monday's World Cup win over Argentina.
New Zealand were forced to play the Pumas with just 13 men when Smith joined his captain Richie McCaw in the sin bin at the end of the first half.
The lapse in judgment by two senior players didn't affect the result, but Smith knows the All Blacks won't be able to repeat such ill-discipline in the knockout stages.
McCaw was banished for a foot trip while Smith scooped the ball out of a ruck after entering it from the side as the All Blacks defended their line.
The law graduate laughed, however, when asked by a French journalist if he'd been ribbed by the younger players in the team for making a rookie mistake.
"I haven't got too much grief about it yet. I apologised and I think they appreciated it," Smith said.
"I made a mistake and I was keen to make up for it after that."
The veteran centre would have gone some way to mollifying his team mates after making a break that led to the All Blacks' second try scored by the reserve flanker Sam Cane.
Smith says impact from the bench is a vital part of his team's strategy whether they're trailing or leading.
"We were served well by our bench and it's something as a squad we've talked about and can pride ourselves on, " he said.
The All Blacks trailed Argentina 13-12 at half time but went on to win 26-16 as the reserves were introduced throughout in the second half.
The reserve props Wyatt Crockett and Charlie Faumuina added mobility to the forward pack, but the back-up mid-fielder, Sonny Bill Williams, made a palpable difference with his hard running carries and offloads.
"Whether we're down on the scoreboard and struggling or whether we're up and we want to keep the pressure on, then that's what our bench has to provide. I think it has done that in recent times," said Smith.
The eight All Blacks who didn't get a run against Argentina are expected to feature in New Zealand's next match at the World Cup on Friday against Namibia.