It’s crunch time for New Zealand’s All Blacks. If they are to win the tournament they have to win this weekend.
All three Tri-Nations teams are level on six points; however, New Zealand is top due to superior points for and points difference, with Argentina in second but having played a game fewer than the All Blacks and Wallabies.
Argentina will be aiming for their second win over New Zealand in Test rugby, following the Pumas’ inaugural triumph (25-15) over the All Blacks in their last meeting (14 November 2020), two weeks ago.
- New Zealand has lost each of their last two Tests, the last time the All Blacks had a worse losing run was a five-match span from July to August in 1998.
- Argentina is undefeated in their last three Tests (W2, D1), the last time the Pumas enjoyed a longer unbeaten run was a four-match span (W4) from September to October in 2015.
- McDonald Jones Stadium will be the 14th different venue in Australia that New Zealand has contested a Test match.
- The All Blacks have won four of their last five Tests in the State of New South Wales (L1).
- Mario Ledesma’s charges are undefeated from their last two Tests against fellow Tier 1 opposition (W1, D1), the last time the Pumas enjoyed a longer unbeaten run was a three-match span (W3) from September to October in 2007.
- New Zealand has beaten more defenders (20.0) and made more offloads (6.7) per game than any other side in the 2020 Tri-Nations; indeed, the Kiwis also lead the tournament for lineout success rate (91.7%).
- Argentina boasts the best tackle success rate (89.6%) of any side in the 2020 Tri-Nations, while the Pumas are also the only side remaining yet to lose a scrum on their own feed (11/11 –100%).
- Ian Foster’s side has scored six tries in the 2020 Tri-Nations starting possession from a lineout, double the amount of the rest of the competition combined (3).
- Guido Petti Pagadizaval has stolen the most lineouts (3) of any player in the 2020 Tri-Nations; his tally is as many as the entire New Zealand squad combined (3).
- Sam Cane has hit more attacking rucks (65) than any other player in the tournament; only Michael Hooper (58) has been the first man to arrive at more times than Cane (49).
We are waiting for the kick-off.
Welcome to Country is done, anthems over; Himno Nacional Argentino was immense. Sam Cane placed an All Blacks jersey with ‘Maradona 10’ on the back down as a gesture of goodwill and compassion to the Pumas. Kapo o Pango was ferocious.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway at a scorching McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle. The mercury tipped 39 degrees celsius but has dropped to 33 at kick-off. Joe Moody plays his 50th Test.
2.00: Both teams open the game kicking for territory. Santiago Cordero knocks-on the lineout, scrum to the Kiwis around halfway.
4.00: A couple of reset scrums. New Zealand can win the Tri-Nations Rugby Championship with a bonus-point win.
5.00: Santiago Medrano is pinged by referee Nic Berry for scrumming in on the angle. Sam Cane points to the poles.
6.00: MISS! Jordie Barrett pushes his kick well wide. 0-0
8.00: Argentina’s defence stands up to the first test, they push the Kiwis backward forcing Richie Mo’unga to kick a crossfield kick to Jordie Barrett; however, Barrett is tackled into touch by Santiago Cordero.
10.00: NO TRY! Beauden Barrett knocks-on Mo’unga’s chip-kick, but Anton Lienert-Brown had also knocked the ball forward despite what the TMO Paul Williams from New Zealand said. The penalty advantage was over too, so scrum to the Pumas on their line.
12.00: TRY! New Zealand goes 11 phases for the second time this evening and this time score. The Kiwis created width, stayed patient before Mo’unga’s long double-skip pass to Dane Coles on the wing – who else – to score. 0-5
13.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga slots the sideline conversion. 0-7
16.00: Jordie Barrett cannot take the crossfield kick, but New Zealand get a penalty for offside. Nicolas Sanchez’s mistake led to the counter-attack from halfway. Cane points to the posts.
17.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga, from in front, makes no mistake. 0-10
20.00: New Zealand under some pressure under their posts. Reset.
21.00: MASSIVE SCRUM by the All Blacks, they win the scrum-penalty and can clear their lines.
23.00: NO TRY! Caleb Clarke is tackled into touch, Argentina is in trouble here. 0-10
26.00: Los Pumas have had no ball, they are defending as they did last week against the Wallabies. They will run out of gas if they don’t keep some possession. New Zealand has started fast, and look good for a win.
29.00: The All Blacks scrum is dominant, Argentina is struggling. Mo’unga is using the crossfield kick to good effect, although this time, Jordie Barrett could not hold on allowing the Pumas to toe the loose ball forward before winning an attacking lineout inside the opposition’s 22.
31.00: All the hard work by the Pumas comes to nothing after a poor pass from scrumhalf Felipe Ezcurra is knocked on by Jeronimo de la Fuente, the man with the best name in rugby.
33.00: Mario Ledesma has made 10 changes to the team that started against Australia, and it is showing. The Pumas cannot get anything going; they have no rhythm for a nation that thrives on passionate momentum.
34.00: A high shot by Pablo Matera leads to a New Zealand penalty, which Mo’unga boots to the Pumas’ half.
37.00: New Zealand has been camped inside the Pumas half all game, they win a penalty after a powerful driving maul after Mayco Vivas came in from the side. Mo’unga calls for the tee.
39.00: MISS! The first-five hits the left-hand post, and the ball bounces out; Sanchez clears to touch. 0-10
42.00: The All Blacks lose the ball in contact, the ball toed forward before Facundo Isa concedes a penalty. Sanchez looked to have been pulled back by Beauden Barrett, but the TMO doesn’t think so. The ball is kicked out into touch.
The halftime score was Argentina 0 New Zealand 10
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway down under.
44.00: New Zealand should have scored, but Matera saves the day with a cynical infringement to stop the Kiwis from scoring. Cane and Whitelock both went close. Cane opts for an attacking scrum.
47.00: All Blacks are camped on the line, but the defence is good. Eventually, the Kiwis are tackled into touch. Argentina has made 99 tackles to 21, way too many against a team of this quality. Matera, for some reason, opts for a scrum.
51.00: The penalties are mounting, nine to two in favour of New Zealand. Argentina’s scrum is disintegrating and the penalties, mounting.
52.00: TRY! Ardie Savea powers over from the back of the scrum to score his 11th Test try. The dam wall has broken, expect more tries. 0-15
54.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds the extras. 0-17
57.00: I’m not sure how Argentina get back in this game, it looks like a damage limitation exercise. Beauden Barrett could not hold on or the Kiwis had another five, for sure.
58.00: Los Pumas win a rare scrum-penalty to clear their lines. Both coaches have emptied their benches.
60.00: Marcos Kremer knocks-on with his team on the front foot inside the All Blacks’ half. Ledesma’s side is huffing and puffing and looks knackered. Kremer is replaced.
64.00: New Zealand kicks a penalty to the corner and looks to their driving maul.
65.00: Clark watches Mo’unga’s crossfield kick sail over his head and into touch.
67.00: New Zealand has 13 minutes to find the bonus-point to win the Tri-Nations, you’d expect them to score twice in that time.
69.00: TRY! Will Jordan picks up the misplaced pass from Santiago Carreras and races 50 metres to score under the posts. Game over! 0-22
70.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good.
70.00: TRY! Jordan scores again from another breakaway. This time he intercepts Santiago Carreras, who is having a nightmare to run in for his second try in as many minutes.
71.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good from Mo’unga. 0-31
76.00: New Zealand are held-up under the posts; they look good for another score before the end.
78.00: A few reset scrums to eat up the clock.
80.00: New Zealand on the attack, they want a fifth, and are going through the phases.
81.00: NO TRY! The ball is held-up over the line. But Tyrel Lomax takes out a Pumas player with a dangerous hit to the head.
81.00: YELLOW CARD! Tyrel Lomax is off. 0-31
82.00: Carreras boots the ball out for a lineout.
84.00: The Kiwis try to run the ball from their 22; this is a messy end to the Test.
85.00: TRY! Patrick Tuipulotu finishes off the rout, scoring under the sticks after Jordan’s break down the sideline. 0-36
86.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 0-38
The final score is Argentina 0 (0) New Zealand 38 (10)
Tries – Coles, A. Savea, Jordan (2), Tuipulotu
Pen – Mo’unga
Con – Mo’unga (5)
Cards – Lomax (Yellow, 81′)
Referee: Nic Berry (RA)
Assistant Ref 1: Angus Gardner (RA)
Assistant Ref 2: Ben O’Keeffe (NZR)
TMO: Paul Williams (NZR)
15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Juan Cruz Mallia, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Felipe Ezcurra, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Lucas Paulos, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Mayco Vivas
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Santiago Grondona, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Santiago Carreras, 23 Lucas Mensa
15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Rieko Ioane, 23 Will Jordan