All Blacks too good for Pumas

Beauden Barrett (Getty Images)
Beauden Barrett (Getty Images)
Napier - The All Blacks defied wet, greasy conditions and repelled Argentina's feared forward power for a bonus-point 28-9 win in their Rugby Championship Test at McLean Park on Saturday.


With their tight five setting the platform, the defending champions scored four tries to nil with powerful wing Julian Savea, known as "The Bus", crossing twice to lift his tally to 23 from 26 Tests.

Despite a below-par kicking performance the All Blacks remained unbeaten and picked up their second bonus point of the series, following their 51-20 crushing of Australia two weeks ago.

Instead of the expected arm-wrestle in the mud in Napier, the All Blacks took their chances to run when they could and then turn Argentina with short kicks in behind their backline.

At times they were too exuberant, lacking the patience that the unpleasant conditions demanded with passing errors costing at least three try-scoring opportunities.

Argentina remain without a win in the competition despite arriving full of confidence after punishing the South African forwards twice in recent weeks.

But instead they found an All Blacks pack equal to the challenge and not even the early loss of senior lock Sam Whitelock to injury could upset their momentum.

The All Blacks led 13-6 at half-time with a try each to Savea and Liam Messam and a penalty to fly-half Beauden Barrett, against two penalties by Nicolas Sanchez.

Savea's first try was the result of a superb move involving two grubber kicks which allowed the winger to barge through the scrambling defence to score out wide.

Messam's try, on the stroke of half-time, left Argentina red-faced and their scrummaging reputation in tatters as the All Blacks shoved them off the ball on halfway to win a tighthead.

Barrett, in his first Test start at pivot, sped through a huge gap to send Messam away for the try.

Barrett was back in the action at the start of the second half when he drew Sanchez to put Savea in for his second try.

But while Barrett had an effective day as backline general, his kicking was astray, missing three conversions and a penalty before being replaced by Colin Slade midway through the second half.

Slade was immediately on the board as he and Sanchez traded penalties, and he then converted Aaron Smith's try as the scrumhalf scored off the back of a solid scrum.

The All Blacks face South Africa next weekend in a top-of-the-table clash that could decide the outcome of the series.

Scorers:

New Zealand:

Tries: Julian Savea (2), Liam Messam, Aaron Smith
Conversion: Colin Slade
Penalties: Beauden Barrett, Slade

Argentina:

Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (3)


Teams:

New Zealand:

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Joe Moody, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Malaki Fekitoa

Argentina:

15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Marcos Ayerza

Substitutes: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Baez, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Imhoff

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