Christchurch - The All Blacks upped the gears on their Rugby World Cup
preparations, taking a step forward in their execution while they continued to
develop a high-pace game plan with a 39-18 win over Argentina in Christchurch
The victory in the Rugby Championship opener was a massive leap from a
scrappy 25-16 win over Samoa last week in Apia though it indicated Steve
Hansen's side still have a lot of work to do if they are to defend the World
Cup in two months.
Captain Richie McCaw, Ma'a Nonu, Charles Piutau, Kieran Read and debutant
Codie Taylor all scored tries while flyhalf Dan Carter, who appeared more
confident at challenging the defensive line, slotted 14 points from the boot.
"We went up four or five gears and we needed to, to be honest,"
Hansen said in a televised interview.
"For most of the game we were pretty good, but there was a period there
for about 10 or 15 minutes when we went to sleep and let them back into it.
"Overall a pass mark."
The All Blacks imposed their pace on the game from the beginning and ran the
Pumas defence ragged, with Piutau's try early in the second half a clear
demonstration of their attacking intent and ability to execute it.
The left winger scored after backs and forwards combined to create a wave of
runners all offloading in the tackle and changing angles as the Pumas were
Such was the pace of the game during that period, that Pumas captain Agustin
Creevy was too out of breath to complain to referee Craig Joubert about what he
thought had been a forward pass during another All Blacks' attack.
Speed, however, was not the only issue the Pumas faced, with their vaunted
scrum dominating throughout to the point where the All Blacks shunted them off
the ball to secure a tighthead.
At the time, rookie prop Nepo Laulala, who was not in the original squad and
was brought in as injury cover for Charlie Faumuina, and Taylor were both in
the front row.
"Really pleased with it," Hansen said in singling out scrum coach
Mike Cron and veteran hooker Keven Mealamu for special praise for their work
"We lost nothing with those two young guys out there."
The All Blacks' aggressive defence also put pressure on the Pumas in their
own half, which resulted in Read's try when he seized on the panic and scooped
up a loose pass to cross.
Hansen, and McCaw, however, were not impressed with allowing Creevy to score
twice from rolling mauls following attacking lineouts and the team had been
given a tongue lashing by the captain after the second, though he was
"It's a step in the right direction," said McCaw.
"But as always you have to look at ways of improving and we'll do