Argentina fought back to beat New Zealand 18-25 in an absorbing 2022 Rugby Championship Round Three clash at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch.
Emiliano Boffelli kicked Argentina to a historic first-ever victory over the All Blacks in New Zealand to stay top of the 2022 Rugby Championship table.
Los Pumas came from 15-6 down late in the first half and 18-12 early in the second to earn a spirited win in the land of the long white cloud.
Michael Cheika’s men keep creating history at every turn. If it was not enough that the Pumas finally beat the All Blacks 25-15 in the 2020 Tri-Nations in Newcastle for the first time.
Boffelli brilliance was at the fore of this historic result.
Emiliano Boffelli again starred for Los Pumas just as he did against the Wallabies in San Juan in Round Two of The Rugby Championship.
Boffelli was instrumental in his side’s resounding 48-17 record win in South America, scoring 18 points. If the Aussies think they had it bad, spare a thought for the Kiwis.
He has dotted down five times in seven Tests versus the All Blacks.
In fact, Boffelli has scored 73 points in his last four internationals, scoring two tries, 12 conversions, and 13 penalties.
The 27-year-old flyer kicked six penalties and one conversion (20 pts). He also had a hand in Juan Martin Gonzalez’s 47th-minute score, which changed the momentum of this thrilling Test match.
The winger kept his team in the game as the two sides traded blows in the first half before his boot pushed the Pumas over the line.
Cheika’s men deserved this win. This victory was built off the back of strong defending, good decision-making, and a strong set piece, which disrupted the opposition and beat the All Blacks at the breakdown.
Marcos Kremer, playing in his 50th Test for Los Pumas, made 26 tackles. Argentina’s tackle success rate was an unbelievable 96% (195/205).
Julian Montoya made 21 tackles, while Matias Orlando added 18 in midfield. Tomas Lavanini racked up 17 and Eduardo Bello –who came off the bench – made 13 tackles alongside the omnipresent Pablo Matera (13).
New Zealand tackled well too (93%), but their ill-discipline cost them 18 points from the tee and a yellow card.
Foster’s men also conceded more penalties than the tourists, who for once, did not implode in the final quarter.
This will go down as one of the great Test wins in world rugby.
The Kiwis started well and stayed in the game until Los Pumas put their foot on the home team’s throats.
Samisoni Taukei’aho and Caleb Clarke crossed for the All Blacks in the first half as the Kiwis led by three at the break.
Richie Mo’unga, who missed two from the tee, kicked two penalties and one conversion (8 pts) as the hosts fell away in the second half.
Ian Foster’s men could only muster a measly three points in the second half. All the goodwill from the Kiwis’ win over the Springboks in South Africa has evaporated.
Foster, despite surviving the Night of the Long Knives, will be back under immense pressure from his board, the media and the supporters.
Foster’s side keeps racking up records of their own, though unwanted. The All Blacks under the 57-year-old coach have lost a first-ever Test series to Ireland at home.
They got beaten in record fashion against the Springboks in Mbombela, and have now lost at home versus Los Pumas.
This chastening defeat is also the first time the All blacks have ever lost three Test matches at home in their 119-year history.
New Zealand took a slender 15-12 lead into the sheds in a see-sawing opening stanza under the Canterbury night lights.
The All Blacks scored two very different tries, one from a driving maul, and a sensational team try involving both backs and forwards following a counter-attack from halfway.
Argentina played the percentages, taking the points on offer rather than looking for the five-pointers.
Boffelli kicked four first-half penalties to keep the visitors in the contest.
The lead changed hands four times as the Kiwis took a 15-6 lead with four minutes remaining in the half.
But Boffelli landed two late goals to cut the deficit to three at the interval.
Mo’unga, who had an iffy day from the tee, missed an early shot at goal before Boffelli opened the scoring in the eighth minute.
Samisoni Taukei’aho crashed over from a powerful driving maul by the All Blacks forwards after Sam Cane decided against taking the points.
Mo’unga’s conversion shaved the post, but the hosts led 5-3.
Both sides leaked four penalties apiece inside the 23 minutes. One of which Boffelli used to put his side back in front.
Foster’s side began to find their groove, scoring 10 points in five minutes to open up a two-score lead after 34 minutes.
Mo’unga slotted his first penalty before the half-hour, and three minutes later, the hosts scored a stunning team try.
An overthrown Julian Montoya lineout got cleaned up by Taukei’aho, who played Ardie Savea. Savea sent a double skip-pass to David Havili.
Havili linked with midfield partner Rieko Ioane, who put Jordie Barrett through a hole with a deft pass.
Barrett raced down the field and drew Juan Cruz Mallia before sending Clarke away down the touchline. It was a sensational but typical All Blacks score.
Mo’unga made no mistake from the touchline. Boffelli pulled the South Americans back into the game with two pin-point penalties before the siren.
A stunning Argentina score and the boot of Boffelli saw the Pumas take charge and win a historic Test in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Jordie Barrett’s long-range penalty attempt fell short, but a sustained 13-phase attack, started by George Bower, ended with a Cane knock-on.
However, some dubious officiating instead gave the All Blacks a kickable penalty. Mo’unga made no mistake.
But the Pumas struck straight from the restart when Gonzalez took advantage of Scott Barrett’s mistake.
Boffelli chased and won the ball for Gonzalez after knocking it out of Barrett’s hands. Gonzalez turned and sped away from George Bower, Aaron Smith and Clarke for his fifth Test try.
The Edinburgh playmaker’s conversion put Cheika’s travellers ahead for the third time in the game, this time by a point.
Mo’unga gathered the high ball, but Montoya won the penalty after Sam Whitelock could not move the hooker off the ball.
Boffelli increased his side’s lead to four with his fifth penalty of the evening before the hour mark.
A sixth goal made it a seven-point ball game before some good defending kept the home team out.
Shannon Frizell went to the bin for another cynical New Zealand offence in the tight phases. Argentina, however, eschewed the points and gave away a penalty after a poor lineout drive.
Los Pumas’ defensive work kept the Kiwis at bay, but Foster’s men kept coming.
With time running out, the All Blacks went through 18 phases before earning a penalty for a high tackle on Will Jordan.
But Codie Taylor’s lineout throw went astray. The Pumas won the scrum, the hooter sounded, and Tomas Cubelli booted the ball into the stands to the sound of boos.
Final Score: New Zealand 18 (15) Argentina 25 (12)
Tries – Taukei’aho, Clarke
Pen – Mo’unga (2)
Con – Mo’unga
Cards – Frizell (Yellow’ 71′)
Tries – Gonzalez
Pen – Boffelli (6)
Con – Boffelli
Referee: Nika Amashukeli [Georgia]
Assistant Ref: Nic Berry [Australia]
Assistant Ref: Jordan Way [Australia]
TMO: Brian McNeice [Ireland]
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ethan de Groot
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 George Bower, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 Quinn Tupaea
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Lucio Cinti, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Joel Sclavi, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Thomas Gallo
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Santiago Grondona, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Tomas Albornoz, 23 Santiago Cordero