Argentina goes into this week’s match against New Zealand with a lot of confidence after beating South Africa and Australia this season.
The Pumas, in theory, have their best chance in years against the All Blacks as they will be coming off a victory over Australia and the last time they played at home they beat South Africa.
- Argentina is yet to win a game against New Zealand in 27 fixtures (D1, L26); the closest they have come this decade was a 26-16 loss at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, in which they led 13-12 at half-time.
- New Zealand has beaten Los Pumas by a double-figure margin in their last five games hosted in Argentina, averaging 39 points scored per match in this time.
- Argentina has lost their last three games at Velez Sarsfield, a loss this weekend will equal their longest losing streak at the ground (four games between 1991 and 1992).
- Argentina will be gunning for back-to-back wins at home for the first time since 2016, after beating South Africa 32-19 in Round 2 of The Rugby Championship this year.
- The Kiwis will be out to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since 2011 after going down 36-34 to South Africa last round; they trailed at half-time in both these losses in 2011 and trailed at half-time in the fixture against South Africa.
- Argentina has scored 20+ points in their last four games and has not scored 20+ points in five or more consecutive games since a run of six games across 2012-13.
- New Zealand is the only side yet to lose a scrum this tournament (22 from 22), while Argentina has the worst success rate of any team in this facet (75%).
- Argentina (65) have scored the most first-half points of any team this tournament and also have the best first-half points difference on aggregate (+16), having shipped just 49 first-half points.
- Four players have made 50+ carries in the 2018 Rugby Championship so far, all of whom are All Blacks, Ben Smith (53), Kieran Read (52), Jack Goodhue (52) and Beauden Barrett (50), Smith has also made the most breaks of any player (14).
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in South America for this massive clash.
2.00: Emiliano Boffelli takes a high-ball outside the All Blacks 22 but he is pinged for not releasing.
5.00: Argentina has started strong, throwing the ball around and going to the air to gain territory. They win a penalty and will take a shot from in front.
6.00: PENALTY! Nicolas Sanchez puts the hosts on the board. 3-0
8.00: TRY! Rieko Ioane is over in the corner after some smart work by Ben Smith and Waisake Naholo. The All blacks have hit back! 3-5
9.00: CONVERSION! Beauden Barrett adds the extras. 3-7
11.00: Scott Barrett is penalised for going off his feet. Sanchez calls for the tee.
12.00: MISS! Sanchez has shanked his kick from in front – terrible miss. 3-7
13.00: Beauden Barrett misjudges his clearance and it goes out on the full. The Pumas will have the lineout on the Kiwis’ 22.
14.00: Oh dear, more simple basic errors, this time Agustin Creevy cannot find his jumper and the visitors have the scrum.
16.00: New Zealand going to the boot at most opportunities, pinning the home team back in their 22.
17.00: TRY! Naholo is in for the All Blacks’ second try after an attacking scrum. 3-12
18.00: CONVERSION! Barrett makes no mistake. 3-14
20.00: Sam Cane turns the ball over and New Zealand get the ball wide but they knock it on.
22.00: the visitors looked to move the ball through the hands, but some good work by Marcos Kremer sees the All Blacks lose possession, giving his side a scrum inside the opposition’s half.
24.00: Argentina is unlucky not to win the penalty after a strong second shove in the scrum; it will be reset.
25.00: The Pumas take a quick-tap free-kick but the referee calls the back the play for not taking it from the mark.
27.00: Matias Moroni knocks on after some slow ball. The Kiwis have the scrum just outside their 22.
28.00: BIG scrum from the All Blacks pack, winning the penalty after demolishing their opponents.
31.00: Some big hits going in before Ioane races clear for his second score. Codie Taylor knocks Boffelli in the head after being pushed into the winger which gifts Ioane a simple try. Very unlucky for the home team. 3-19
32.00: CONVERSION! Barrett slots the sideline conversion. 3-21
34.00: Relentless pressure from the World Champions, using direct running and then going wide. Somehow, they knock-on in a good position and cede possession. Another score will kill this game as a contest.
36.00: The All Blacks are under huge pressure, giving up multiple penalties – but as per usual, no cards are shown inside the red zone: typical. Sanchez kicks to the corner.
37.00: YELLOW CARD! Sonny Bill Williams is sent to the bin after the topping up system of infringements. Sanchez kicks to the corner.
38.00: Oh no! The Argentinians lose their throw. Their set-pieces have been atrocious, something that has plagued the South Americans for a few seasons.
39.00: New Zealand try running out of their 22 but they throw the ball into touch. however, they get a penalty and can clear the danger.
40.00: Creevy rips the ball out of an All Black hand and starts a counter-attack from deep inside the home side’s half.
41.00: Kremer knocks on and that is halftime.
The halftime score was Argentina 3 New Zealand 21
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway at Estadio Jose Amalfitani.
43.00: MASSIVE HIT! Beauden Barrett and Ryan Crotty smoke Sanchez with a huge double tackle. This could be a problem for Barrett which is strange because his hit was not high or dangerous. Penalty to Argentina.
44.00: What is Sanchez doing? He tried a quick cross-field kick but it was terrible; he’s been terrible with the boot, tonight. Scrum to the hosts, however, after a knock on during the counter-attack.
45.00: Penalty to New Zealand, again and from another scrum. Ramiro Herrera is having a ‘mare.
48.00: Scuffles are breaking out, now. Argentina wins another penalty, but once again, the hosts lose the ball from a wayward lineout. Their scrum is a mess and so they have no platform to mount any attacks.
50.00: Angus Ta’avao, the chiefs loosehead who had no contract before the beginning of this year’s Super Rugby season, is on for his Test debut. Wow, what a story!
54.00: Sonny Bill offloads in the tackle and Ioane races away before being ankle-tapped inside the Pumas’ 22. The Kiwis do win a penalty and will take a lineout.
55.00: TRY! Patrick Tuipulotu powers his way over after Taylor was stopped short. Game over. 3-26
57.00: CONVERSION! Barrett splits the uprights with his fourth kick of the evening. 3-28
58.00: Taylor tackles Bautista Ezcurra high, is penalised after a check with the TMO for a dangerous tackle. Argentina goes for another driving maul.
59.00: TRY! Tomas Cubelli is over for Los Pumas’ first try of the Test. 8-28
59.00: CONVERSION! Sanchez adds the two points. 10-28
63.00: Cubelli saves the day with an intercept, but the Kiwis are still inside the Pumas’ half.
65.00: Another scrum-penalty for the All Blacks; they have obliterated the Argentina pack.
68.00: TRY! Emiliano Boffelli crosses after Pablo Matera’s barnstorming run is halted close to the try-line. 15-28
69.00: CONVERSION! Sanchez reduces the deficit, but it looks to be too late for the comeback. 17-28
71.00: There is a break in play after Beauden Barrett looks to have dotted down after Tomas Cubelli carries the ball over his try-line. No try, scrum to the All Blacks.
72.00: TRY! Anton Lienert-Brown dots down near the posts after another strong scrum almost led to a penalty try. 17-33
74.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga converts his score. 17-35
77.00: The game is dying as the clock ticks down. New Zealand has been clinical, putting on a devastating display of forwards dominance.
78.00: Another scrum-penalty goes against the Pumas. boy, they’ve been woeful.
80.00: All Blacks have a lineout outside the home team’s 22.
81.00: A scuffle breaks out after NZ get awarded another penalty: Handbags.
82.00: The ball is kicked into touch.
New Zealand is the 2018 Rugby Championship winners, their sixth title to go along with their 10 Tri-Nations titles.
The final score is Argentina 17 (3) New Zealand 35 (21)
Tries – Cubelli, Boffelli
Pen – Sanchez
Con – Sanchez (2)
Tries – R. Ioane (2), Naholo, Tuipulotu, Lienert-Brown
Con – B. Barrett (4), Mo’unga
Cards – Williams (Yellow, 37′)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (FFR)
Assistant Ref: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
Assistant Ref 2: Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU)
TMO: David Grashoff (RFU)
15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Matias Moroni, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Matias Orlando, 22 Sebastian Cancelliere.
15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock (captain), 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Reserves: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.