All Blacks tame Pumas in thriller
Published 12/09/2016 | 02:30
New Zealand again showed they are in a league of their own with a 57-22 win over Argentina in Hamilton on Saturday.
However, the scoreline did not reflect just how good Argentina were for 50 minutes, as they really put New Zealand under pressure with some classy rugby of their own.
The All Blacks looked rattled, but still took a 24-19 lead into the break in a highly entertaining game at the FMG Stadium Waikato.
After a stuttering first 10 minutes of the second period, Beauden Barrett grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck as the All Blacks scored three tries in 10 minutes.
Barrett, who scored a first-half try and kicked six conversions, broke the game open just as the Pumas looked like they could cause a major upset while trailing 24-22 with about 30 minutes remaining.
Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez slotted four penalties, while winger Santiago Cordero finished off a beautiful movement early in the first half.
The All Blacks looked just as dangerous when they did get their hands on the ball, with Julian Savea, Barrett and Ben Smith all crossing for first-half tries which the fly-half converted, while Israel Dagg slotted a long-range penalty.
Sanchez narrowed the gap 10 minutes into the second-half with another penalty, but Barrett and the bench then took over as the injection of fresh blood upped the intensity.
Barrett used his pace to twice break the line and put Ryan Crotty over, before Charlie Faumuina finished off a team try sparked by the the in-form fly-half inside his own half to blow the score out to 38-22 with a quarter of the game remaining.
Crotty and Ben Smith both added their second tries before Luke Romano crossed to complete a flattering scoreline for the All Blacks.
Meanwhile, Australia won their first Test match of 2016 with a hard-fought 23-17 win over South Africa in Brisbane.
Tries from Warren Whiteley and Johan Goosen gave South Africa the lead, but Australia fought back through the boot of Bernard Foley and an Adam Coleman try meant they went into the break just 13-14 down.
Foley added another penalty and converted his own try to give Australia the lead for the first time. South Africa fought back with a Morne Steyn try, but the home side held on for their first win in six games.