Both sides have made seven changes for Saturday’s clash at Yarrow Stadium, the first Test played in New Plymouth, Taranaki since 2013.
Nehe Milner-Skudder returns to the All Black side for the first time since the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final victory over Australia and will play on the left wing for the first time.
The All Blacks are undefeated in 24 previous encounters with the Pumas and have won 22 Tests in a row since a 21-all draw in Buenos Aires in 1985.
Argentina has lost their last seven games, yet can never be written off, just ask France, South Africa and Australia, among others.
We are awaiting the national anthems and the Haka.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are underway in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Nicolás Sánchez starts the Test as the rain starts to get heavier. The All Blacks claim the kick-off and clear to touch. Argentina will have the first lineout of the night.
3.00: Sánchez slips a kick behind the Kiwi lines, but Beauden Barrett is back and clears. Argentina has the ball, again, and are going through the phases. Good early pressure from the South Americans. Los Pumas have the advantage and Sánchez attempts a long range drop goal – it’s wide.
4.00: Luke Romano loses the ball forward. Scrum down, Argentina put in near the halfway line. Reset. The visitors get the free-kick and take it quickly.
7.00: Argentina goes through the phases but loses the ball at the ruck after Kieren Read steals the ball. New Zealand recycles quickly before Beauden Barrett kicks a cross-kick for Israel Dagg, but the ball goes into touch.
9.00: TRY Nehe Milner-Skudder! He’s back! Great work from Damian McKenzie. The fullback saw the compressed defence in front of him, held on and burst through the gap. It was slice-and-dice from McKenzie. Vaea Fifita’s powerful run in the midfield helped make the score a reality: 5-0
10.00: MISS! Beauden Barrett misses from the touchline: 5-0
13.00: Argentina have the ball and some territory; they are getting over the advantage line with relative ease, but they must stay patient. They win the penalty.
14.00: PENALTY! Nicolás Sánchez slots the easy kick from straight in front: 5-3
16.00: A mistake at the restart gives the Kiwis a good field position and the scrum. They go through the phases and are punching holes in the Pumas defence. They have another scrum, near the sideline.
18.00: The All Blacks try a midfield move between Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Dagg, however, an Argentina hand scuppers the move. Scrum to the Kiwis.
19.00: TRY Anton Lienert-Brown! Read picks up at the base of the scrum, pops to Beauden Barrett, who stabs a lovely little dink in behind the Pumas’ defensive line. Lienert-Brown races through, collects the high bouncing ball and dots down before sliding over the dead-ball line: 10-3
20.00: MISS! The conversion is missed: 10-3
22.00: The All blacks opt for a short lineout. Read wins the ball and the Kiwis punch up the midfield through Sonny Bill. New Zealand loses the ball at the ruck, Sánchez puts in a bomb, but lose possession. However, the Kiwis are penalised at the breakdown after regathering the ball. Agustín Creevy gets low and steals the ball from Romano. Emiliano Boffelli will take a shot at goal from 51 metres.
23.00: PENALTY! Wow! What a kick from the winger, the ball sailed over the crossbar… and the dead-ball line: massive kick! 10-6
24.00: Barrett fluffs another restart. His kicking game has been really poor since the British and Irish Lions series.
28.00: DROP GOAL! Sánchez with a snap-drop after a poor clearance by McKenzie: 10-9
30.00: Scrum to New Zealand inside the visitor’s half.
32.00: New Zealand comes again. They go wide, using short passes between forwards and backs, looking for a hole in the blue and white wall. Sánchez gets up quickly in the line and stops Barrett; it was a knock on by the standoff. Scrum to the All Blacks.
34.00: BIG SCRUM! Joe Moody pops Nahuel Tetaz and the Kiwis get the penalty. They opt for touch, five metres from the try-line. Somehow, Argentina wins the ball, but New Zealand gets the ball back and attacks wide.
35.00: Lucas Noguera Paz. is penalised and it will be another scrum to the home team. The scrum is 15 metres in from touch.
37.00: TRY Israel Dagg! Read picks up and play TJ Perenara. The scrum-half swings a pass to Sonny Bill, who plays a wrap-around with Beuden Barrett. The first-five tries to float a pass out wide, but it is palmed down. The ball does, however, role towards Dagg, who gathers and shoots over the whitewash for the score: 15-9
38.00: MISS! Barrett misses another conversion, that’s three missed kicks, now: 15-9
41.00: TRY Nicolás Sánchez! Argentina hits back on the stroke of half-time. Read was called for offsides, then another All Black as first Creevy and Guido Petti both took ‘crash ball’ into the Black tide. Sánchez collected the third phase, cut back on his right, beats McKenzie’s tackle and darted over the whitewash for the try: 15-14
42.00: The standoff makes no mistake with his conversion and the Pumas have a lead at the interval: 15-16
The half-time score was All Blacks 15 Pumas 16
41.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are back underway for the second-half of this pulsating Test match. Nicolás Sánchez has been the star for the visitors and has a full house of points with a try, penalty, conversion and dropped goal.
43.00: PENALTY! Boffelli slots another monster kick from 55 metres: 15-19
45.00: Argentina has the upper hand in this game. Can they keep their discipline and record a famous upset?
47.00: Argentina wins another penalty, this time at the scrum after Dane Coles is pinged for an early engagement. Sánchez will call for the tee.
48.00: MISS! It’s wide. He took that quickly and was a poor miss: 15-19
50.00: YELLOW CARD! Angus Gardner calls for time off and sends Beauden Barrett to the sin-bin. Five All Blacks were offsides – very cynical – but they keep the Argentina juggernaut at bay.
51.00: PENALTY! Sánchez makes no mistake and extends the lead to seven points: 15-22
51.00: TRY Vaea Fifita! Sensational score by the back rower. A scrappy kick from Tomás Cubelli ends up with Fifita burning five Pumas’ defenders and diving in for the try in the corner: 20-22
52.00: Lima Sopoaga makes no mistake: 22-22
56.00: The All Blacks have the momentum and are attacking the Pumas at every opportunity. They win the penalty and Read says, “let’s kick at goal”.
57.00: MISS! Sopoaga misses from almost in front: 22-22
60.00: It’s all New Zealand at the moment. The All Black scrum is starting to get the upper hand on the Pumas.
63.00: TRY Damian McKenzie! The All Blacks turned down two shots at goal but decided to gamble. They go wide and TJ Perenara throws a long pass to the fullback to score in the corner: 27-22
64.00: Sopoaga adds the extras: 29-22
66.00: TRY, no try? McKenzie at the double? Fifita combines with the fullback, who races away to score. Hold on, the TMO is involved, looking for a forward pass by the back rower. Yes, it was forward.
69.00: PENALTY! Sopoaga makes it a 10-point game: 32-22
71.00: Argentian has lost their mojo and are tiring in the last quarter.
75.00: Angus Gardner calls the Pumas’ skipper and tells him to be careful with all the infringements at the breakdown.
76.00: Superb work from Petti at the ruck, winning the turnover. However, the Kiwis tackle Sánchez inside the in-goal area and win the attacking scrum.
79.00: TRY Beauden Barrett! Great work from the breakdown by the Kiwis: 37-22
80.00: The conversion is good: 39-22
83.00: Argentian has another penalty and will kick to touch for one last crack at the All Blacks. The Kiwis win the penalty and kick to touch. Game over!
The final score is New Zealand 39 (15) Argentina 22 (16)
Tries – Milner-Skudder, Lienert-Brown, Dagg, Fifita, McKenzie, B. Barrett
Pen – Sopoaga
Con – Sopoaga (3)
Cards – B. Barrett (Yellow, 50th minute)
Tries – Sánchez
Pen – Sánchez (2), Boffelli (2)
Con – Sánchez
Drop – Sánchez
Referee: Angus Gardner (ARU)
Assistant Ref 1: Nigel Owens (WRU)
Assistant Ref 2: Matthew Carley (RFU)
TMO: George Ayoub (ARU)
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Ngani Laumape.
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Benjamin Macome, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 4 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 3 Nahuel Tetaz, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera Paz.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto Heilan, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Matías Orlando