Tuesday 19 March 2019

All Blacks 'not up to standard'

All Blacks captain Kieran Read. Photo: Getty
All Blacks captain Kieran Read. Photo: Getty

Nigel Whittaker

New Zealand captain Kieran Read admitted his side's scoring was "not up to standard" after securing a 46-24 Rugby Championship victory over Argentina at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.

TJ Perenara starred for the All Blacks, scoring a try in each half as they were pushed all the way, before holding out for victory on Saturday.

Perenara also made a try-saving tackle on Argentina's Matias Moroni as the home side were placed under intense pressure from the Pumas.

They were unlucky to have lost by such a margin, as winger Ramiro Moyano and full-back Emiliano Boffelli brought the game to the All Blacks, popping up everywhere in the backline to exploit space.

"The Argies really brought it to us today, and we expected that," Read said, as New Zealand registered a third win.

"A lot of enterprise, but not a lot of accuracy out there," he added. "You look at the scoreboard, we went alright there, but not up to our high standards, I guess. To take a bonus-point win, we're stoked with that."

Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez scored a try and ended with 14 points to reach 655 in his career, surpassing Felipe Contepomi - now Leinster backs coach - as the country's highest test scorer.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Australia rallied to overcome their half-time deficit and survived a late South African comeback to record their first victory of the Rugby Championship with a 23-18 win over the Springboks in Brisbane on Saturday.

Two Matt Toomua penalties after the break added to the centre's first-half try and one from his captain Michael Hooper to give the Wallabies a morale-boosting victory after back-to-back losses to Ireland in June and New Zealand last month.

Michael Cheika's men were made to work hard at Lang Park, however, and needed a huge effort to stop the South Africans from scoring what could have been a match-winning try in the final few minutes.

"It was tight," said Hooper, who led a side without late withdrawals David Pocock, Israel Folau and Adam Coleman.

"We knew it would be that way. We knew they would come out firing. It was a good game, back and forth a lot. I'm really proud of the guys' resilience."

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