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New Zealand reign supreme again with Championship win

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New Zealand's Israel Dagg makes a break during his side's Rugby Championship win over Argentina at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata in Buenos Aires. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

New Zealand's Israel Dagg makes a break during his side's Rugby Championship win over Argentina at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata in Buenos Aires. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Getty Images

New Zealand's Israel Dagg makes a break during his side's Rugby Championship win over Argentina at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata in Buenos Aires. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

New Zealand claimed the Rugby Championship title for the third consecutive season as they romped to a convincing bonus-point victory (34-13) over Argentina on Saturday, but head coach Steve Hansen wasn't entirely satisfied with his side's performance.

The Pumas never really threatened to end the All Blacks' unbeaten run but it was only when substitute scrum-half TJ Perenara dotted down 15 minutes from the end that the bonus point was confirmed.

"Pretty good - good enough to get the job done, anyway," Hansen said.

First-half tries from Ben Smith and Israel Dagg as well as 10 points from the boot of Beauden Barrett - who replaced Aaron Cruden, who was left out for disciplinary reasons - gave the visitors a 20-6 half-time lead, but Hansen was adamant that his side were never going to force the issue.

"You go in there with the attitude you're going to score four tries, then you're going in with the wrong attitude," Hansen stressed.

"These guys are better than that, the Pumas. First and foremost, we went in respecting them and to play our own game, and if that was good enough for four tries, that would be good."

Julian Savea collected Aaron Smith's perfectly timed pass to score an excellent try before Perenara sealed the bonus point.

Argentina got over for a consolation ate on when Horacio Agulla crossed for a try that Gonzalez Iglesias converted to add to Nicolas Sanchez's two earlier penalties.

"You work all week for your game structures and skills to be shown on the park and we showed a great array of skills and the type of game we want to play," Hansen added.

"The Championship is an outcome because of those things going well."

Meanwhile, Australian coach Ewen McKenzie was left frustrated by his side's failure to see out the game against South Africa.

The Wallabies led by two points with 11 minutes remaining but South Africa stunned them with three late tries to win a pulsating game 28-10.

"To let in three tries at the end was a really disappointing finish and probably an unfair reflection on the contribution of the team had put in across that 70 minutes," McKenzie said.

"I actually felt for the players who set the game up, I thought they did a really good job. That's probably going to get lost in the final scoreline unfortunately."

Jean de Villiers got the try that sparked his side's revival, and the Springbok captain touched down again in stoppage-time.

Scoreless

Marcell Coetzee's try had given South Africa a 13th-minute lead and, although Australia led 10-5 at half-time thanks to a Bernard Foley penalty and an Adam Ashley-Cooper try, they were held scoreless in the second half.

Pat Lambie made the game safe with a try three minutes from time before de Villiers had the final say on a memorable day for the former Munster centre.

"It came down to that and once we got that momentum and the crowd got behind us, we were unstoppable at stages," de Villiers said.

"It was probably one of the best 10-minute periods I've been involved in. I don't think it was the opposition that was the issue there. It was a special performance. I'd rate it among the top 10 (of his career)."

The tournament concludes this weekend.

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