Napier - The All Blacks defied wet, greasy conditions and repelled Argentina's
feared forward power for a bonus-point 28-9 win in their Rugby
Championship Test at McLean Park on Saturday.
With their tight
five setting the platform, the defending champions scored four tries to
nil with powerful wing Julian Savea, known as "The Bus", crossing twice
to lift his tally to 23 from 26 Tests.
Despite a below-par
kicking performance the All Blacks remained unbeaten and picked up their
second bonus point of the series, following their 51-20 crushing of
Australia two weeks ago.
Instead of the expected arm-wrestle in
the mud in Napier, the All Blacks took their chances to run when they
could and then turn Argentina with short kicks in behind their backline.
At times they were too exuberant, lacking the patience that the
unpleasant conditions demanded with passing errors costing at least
three try-scoring opportunities.
Argentina remain without a win in
the competition despite arriving full of confidence after punishing the
South African forwards twice in recent weeks.
But instead they
found an All Blacks pack equal to the challenge and not even the early
loss of senior lock Sam Whitelock to injury could upset their momentum.
All Blacks led 13-6 at half-time with a try each to Savea and Liam
Messam and a penalty to fly-half Beauden Barrett, against two penalties
by Nicolas Sanchez.
Savea's first try was the result of a superb
move involving two grubber kicks which allowed the winger to barge
through the scrambling defence to score out wide.
on the stroke of half-time, left Argentina red-faced and their
scrummaging reputation in tatters as the All Blacks shoved them off the
ball on halfway to win a tighthead.
Barrett, in his first Test start at pivot, sped through a huge gap to send Messam away for the try.
Barrett was back in the action at the start of the second half when he drew Sanchez to put Savea in for his second try.
while Barrett had an effective day as backline general, his kicking was
astray, missing three conversions and a penalty before being replaced
by Colin Slade midway through the second half.
immediately on the board as he and Sanchez traded penalties, and he then
converted Aaron Smith's try as the scrumhalf scored off the back of a
The All Blacks face South Africa next weekend in a top-of-the-table clash that could decide the outcome of the series. Scorers:
Tries: Julian Savea (2), Liam Messam, Aaron Smith
Conversion: Colin Slade
Penalties: Beauden Barrett, Slade
Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (3)
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Joe Moody, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Malaki Fekitoa
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Marcos Ayerza
Substitutes: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Baez, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Imhoff