New Zealand captain Benji Marshall was full of praise for maligned halves partner Shaun Johnson following their 23-8 second Test win over Great Britain in Christchurch.
Johnson was dropped for the first Test win over the Lions in Auckland following a poor effort in the Kiwis' loss to Australia.
A shoulder injury to Kieran Foran presented the 29-year-old Cronulla half with a chance to redeem himself and he did it in style with one of his most controlled performances in a Kiwis jersey on Saturday night.
"I am really proud of Shaun," Marshall said.
"I think the best way you can judge a person is how they respond after adversity and I think the way he handled getting dropped, not only that, but the way he came back and performed this week, I thought that showed a lot of class."
The inconsistent Johnson's poor performance against the Kangaroos showed a need to improve his kicking game and that was a feature of his effort against the Lions.
While gifted with a magical sidestep, he didn't overplay his hand and worked well in tandem with Marshall as their tactical kicking heaped pressure on the opposition.
"That's how it needs to be at this level," Johnson said. "You can't have a dominant kicker, otherwise you just get exposed and you just get picked off.
"Having options both sides opens up both of our kickers and I was able to find some space."
Johnson scored a try in the first half, which proved valuable in the context of the game as the Kiwis took a 16-2 lead to the break.
That advantage proved too much for the Lions to overcome as the Kiwis showed their defensive steel during the final quarter.
Johnson will enjoy a brief rest before returning to training with Cronulla. He is also due to get married in the off-season to long-time partner Kayla Cullen.
Australian Associated Press