Tri-Nations

Sensational Sanchez leads Argentina to historic win over New Zealand

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Argentina beat New Zealand 25-15 in an enthralling Round Three of the Tri-Nations Rugby Championship clash at Bankwest Stadium, Sydney.

Nicolás Sánchez scored all Argentina’s points, leading Los Pumas to a historic first-ever Test win over New Zealand.

The flyhalf kicked six penalties and converted his first-half try as the South Americans dominated the shell-shocked All Blacks.

It is the third-most points by a player ever against the All Blacks in Test match history.


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The 32-year-old playmaker has now scored three tries, assisted two tries, and scored 75 points in his six Tests against the three-time world champions.

What was said after the stunning upset

Former Wallaby great Michael Lynagh, speaking on television, said it was “the best game” he’d seen Sanchez play. He was the architect of the win, built on the foundations of the forwards, led by Pablo Matera.

Matera said: “It’s a big day for Argentinian rugby… We’re used to this [being underdogs]. At the moment, it is one of the toughest times in our country.

“We want to show all our people [that] if you fight and work hard, you get what you fight for – we just want to make our people proud.”

The captain added: “It was a big effort from all our guys, all the defence. We were really disciplined, we tackled hard, and we felt comfortable without the ball, and I think that is why we won today.”

A last-play try from Caleb Clarke flattered the scoreline.

Tears of joy flowed in the stands, the coaches’ box, and on the field as the Pumas celebrated as though they had won the World Cup.

It has taken a while but Argentina finally has all three scalps of the southern hemisphere giants since joining The Rugby Championship in 2012.

Mario Ledesma’s charges, who hadn’t played a Test match in more than 402 days going back to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, were up for this clash.

The cameras caught Ledesma crying against a wall in the back of the coaches’ booth.

The emotional coach spoke on TV afterward saying: “We’ve been through hell and sometimes mistreated, and the boys just kept ticking, working and making efforts.

“Just staying positive with everything that is going on, which in itself is already a lot… just so proud.”

This is a truly remarkable achievement given the country’s record versus the men in black as well as the current global climate, which has left his players shorn of game-time.

Argentina took control early on, took their chances, and never faltered

This was no second-string AB team either. Much debate surrounded the team selection, whether Head coach Ian Foster should play a full-strength team or give the squad some game time to show their worth.

In the end, Foster picked his strongest XV and best combinations, going away from last weekend’s team that was put out against Australia.

Ledesma’s troops outmatched the All Blacks in the tight phases, in the physicality department, and the set-pieces; they out-thought their illustrious opponents, who looked a rabble.

Tri-Nations Rugby Championship Round 3 Video Highlights: New Zealand v Argentina, Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

The Pumas’ flooded the breakdown, winning multiple penalties and turnovers as the All Blacks lost their heads.

New Zealand was second-best in all facets of this game. Foster said his charges lacked composure and discipline.

They were a shambles, missing tackles, losing lineouts on their throw, passing the ball into touch, and the handling was sloppy.

Argentina did not miss a tackle until the final moments of the match, which is unheard of at any level of rugby.

This Test could be referenced, named after Matera or Sanchez such was their impact on the game.

They rattled Foster’s men, who looked like they were playing their first game in over a year, not their fifth Test following a national Super Rugby tournament.

New Zealand found themselves down by 16 points with 25 minutes remaining.

Sam Cane and Clarke dotted down after the interval, but their tries were of little consequence as Sanchez kicked three second-half penalties to steer his team to victory.

The Kiwis have now lost back-to-back Tests for the first time since 2011 following last week’s defeat to the Wallabies in Brisbane.

They remain top of the Tri-Nations Rugby championship after three games, but only a point ahead of Australia and Argentina.

Sánchez’s inspiration, skill, and boot put Argentina into a commanding position as New Zealand’s errors mounted

Argentina took a deserved 13-point lead into the shed after a superb first-half performance in the Parramatta sunshine.

Another Sánchez virtuoso saw the flyhalf score all his team’s points, kicking three penalties and converting his 19th-minute try to give Los Pumas a 16-3 advantage.

The Pumas could have led by more but Sanchez missed a penalty and an early drop-goal attempt.

Richie Mo’unga’s 12th-minute penalty leveled the scores but was all the Kiwis had to show after an ill-disciplined and error-strewn first stanza.

A ferocious game saw scuffles break out all over the pitch as tempers flared. Shannon Frizell, Dane Coles, and Matera were all spoken to by referee Angus Gardner.

Los Pumas dominated the few scrums, but their lineout was shakey.

Tomás Cubelli’s break led to Juan Imhoff having nobody in front of himself and only the goal line.

But Aaron Smith tracked back to make the cover tackle that saved a certain try. The skipper was held up several phases later, which, surprisingly, led to the game’s first scrum eight minutes before the break.

New Zealand had a chance on the stroke of halftime but Mo’unga kicked the penalty out over the in-goal area.

Argentina started the second half strong. Their forwards won a crucial penalty inside their 22 after a Jordie Barrett knock-on before a powerful driving maul walked the All Blacks from halfway to behind their 10m.

Gardner awarded a penalty for two infringements, one for collapsing the maul, the other for offside by Jack Goodhue. Sanchez extended the lead to two scores.

New Zealand fight back but cannot turn pressure into points

Codie Taylor came on for the ineffective Coles and immediately lost a lineout throw; however, the Kiwis won a penalty, minutes later.

Mo’unga kicked to the corner after Marcos Kremer’s side entry to the previous maul. This time, the All Blacks took a quick throw to the front of the lineout.

It caught the opposition off guard, and Cane flopped over the whitewash for his 15th Test try. Mo’unga converted the touchline kick to cut the deficit to nine.

Four minutes later, Sanchez kicked his fifth penalty after a Cane infringement at the breakdown to make it 22-10 going into the last quarter.

Another botched Taylor lineout on the Argentinian’s line saw the South American’s escape unscathed.

Foster’s men kept coming, they had two glorious chances from a lineout and an attacking scrum inside the opposition’s 22. However, Hoskins Sotutu broke blind before throwing a loose pass into touch.

As the clock ticked down, the Kiwis lost their way. Their opponents kept up the pressure, increasing the pace and tempo as the All Blacks wilted in the Aussie sunshine.

Sanchez sealed the historic victory with his sixth penalty three minutes before the end.

There was time for the All Blacks to score when Clarke crossed in the last minute, but the horse had already bolted.

Cue scenes.

Final Score: New Zealand 15 (3) Argentina 25 (16)

Scorers

New Zealand
Tries – Cane, Clarke
Pen – Mo’unga
Con – Mo’unga
Drop –
Cards –

Argentina
Tries – Sanchez
Pen – Sanchez (6)
Con – Sanchez
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials

Referee: Angus Gardner (RA)
Assistant Ref 1: Nic Berry (RA)
Assistant Ref 2: Paul Williams (NZR)
TMO: Ben O’Keeffe (NZR)

Teams

New Zealand

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 Shannon Frizell, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody

Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Rieko Ioane, 23 Damian McKenzie

Argentina

15 Santiago Carreras, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Francisco Gómez Kodela, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Santiago Grondona, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Lucio Cinti, 23 Santiago Cordero

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