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Rugby Championship: All Blacks dismantle Los Pumas in Buenos Aires

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New Zealand beat Argentina 10-36 after a scintillating first-half display at Estadio Vélez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires.

The All Blacks outscored Argentina five tries to one as they cruised to victory in South America.

Earlier, South Africa and Australia’s 27-all draw handed the Kiwis their fifth Rugby Championship title in six years.

Kieran Read grabbed a brace, scoring twice inside the opening half-hour, as his team ran rampant.

Damian McKenzie and Waisake Naholo also scored, as the Kiwis raced to a 26-point half-time lead.

David Havili, on debut, scored his team’s only try of the second-half, while Beauden Barrett kicked five from six for a match haul of 11 points.

The first-five eighth was sensational, putting on another masterclass and he had a hand in three of his team’s tries.

Nicolas Sanchez mustered the only points of the first 40 minutes, kicking a fifth-minute penalty to level the scores at 3-all.

Whatever Daniel Hourcade said t0 his team at the break, it worked because the Pumas came out firing.

They dominated territory and possession in the third quarter, finally breaching the whitewash when Juan Manuel Leguizamón crashed over in the 54th-minute.

There were four yellow cards; two for each team, although it was a clean contest.

Argentina managed to snuff out the Kiwis’ attacks, only conceding at the death when Havili crashed over after the hooter.

New Zealand dominated the set pieces throughout, while their defence will have pleased Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith.

The opening half an hour was as good as anyone has seen this great All Blacks team play, and there has been many.

Barret, who received the call-up the day before the side departed due to the birth of Lima Sopoaga’s first child, opened the scoring.

He kicked an early penalty, but it was cancelled out a minute later by Sanchez.

That was as close as the home side would get to the defending three-time World Champions.

Two minutes later, the visitors had their first try.

Barrett passed to Sonny Bill Williams, who popped a one-handed offload to McKenzie, in support.

The fullback passed to Naholo, who then shifted the ball to his skipper on the touchline.

The conversion was missed, however, it did not matter because the second try came soon after.

New Zealand’s pack dismantled the famous Argentinian scrum. It would not be the last time either.

McKenzie’s quick-tap, after another scrum-penalty, saw the fullback crash over under the posts.

Barrett made no mistake and his side led 3-15 after 17 minutes.

The All Blacks smelled blood in the water and were in for their third, within a few phases of the restart.

It came from some stunning skill by Barrett, who shrugged off Matias Orlando and Tomas Cubelli before sending a no-look pass out the back-door to Naholo.

The winger sprinted clear, beating Emiliano Boffelli to the try-line for the five-pointer.

Argentina’s discipline was already at breaking point, particularly from locks Tomas Lavanini and Guido Petti.

Lavanini was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle on Williams. It was his third infringement in 22 minutes, although, it did seem soft.

Hansen’s men made Los Pumas pay thanks to some more Barrett brilliance.

On 27 minutes, the flyhalf’s between-the-legs pass to McKenzie set up Read for his second try and the Kiwis’ fourth.

The fullback handed off Matias Moroni, drew the remaining defender and sent his skipper away. Barrett slotted the difficult kick and New Zealand led 3-29. Game over.

Argentina had already shipped 14 tackles and if it continued, the scoreline might have reached three figures.

The home team started to find some rhythm. They went to their driving maul, which led to some cynical play by the All Blacks pack, and Matt Todd being sent to the naughty chair.

It should have been his captain, but it did not matter, the Pumas could not cross the goal-line before the break.

Daniel Hourcade must have read the riot act because his team came out firing after the interval.

Vaea Fifita went close after the break, but somehow, he was tackled into touch.

The third quarter belonged to Argentina. They had all the territory and possession, camping inside the visitor’s 22.

New Zealand would not budge, keeping the blue and white hoops at bay, pushing every attack back, making every tackle.

Argentina could not get the final pass away and their impatience cost them two good opportunities.

Eventually, they got their try; the Kiwi resistance had been broken after their hosts had laid siege to their goal-line.

Drive after drive, pick-and-go after pick-and-go, finally saw Leguizamón, the mountain of a No 8, crash over the whitewash.

Sanchez added the extras, reducing the deficit to 19 points and three scores.

Ramiro Herrera, the substitute prop, received his marching orders after his third scrum infringement.

Kane Hames was having his way with Herrera, who must have been happy to leave the field for 10 minutes.

New Zealand’s last points were scored in the 28th minute of the match, but they would not be denied.

Havili, on for Rieko Ioane, moved to fullback and McKenzie went to the wing. With one last play after the hooter sounded, the debutant scored his maiden Test try.

Read picked up from the base of the scrum, popped to Perenara, who offloaded to the fullback.

Havili took the ball flat before crashing over to score.

The 22-year-old was swamped by his team-mates; the defending champions celebrating.

Final score: Argentina 10 (3) New Zealand 36 (29)

Scorers

Argentina
Tries – Leguizamón
Pen – Sanchez
Con – Sanchez
Drop –
Cards – Lavanini (Yellow, 22nd minute), Herrera (Yellow, 67th minute)

New Zealand
Tries – Read (2), McKenzie, Naholo, Havili
Pen – B. Barrett
Con – B. Barrett (4)
Drop –
Cards – Todd (Yellow, 39th minute), Read (Yellow, 51st minute)

Match Officials
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Ref 1: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant Ref 2: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Teams

Argentina

15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera.

Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Juan Martin Hernández, 23 Santiago Cordero.

New Zealand

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames.

Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 David Havili

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