June 19, 2013
Pumas lose to All Blacks 21-5
WELLINGTON — The time will soon come when Argentina manage to win games such as the one they lost 21-5 in difficult weather in Wellington. The home side, the All Blacks, are the world champions and the best ranked team in the world, so the loss, as painful as it was, was expected.
The Pumas have already relocated in Australia’s Gold Coast where they will play the Wallabies next Saturday in the fourth of six rounds of the inaugural Rugby Championship. “We have a number of players with knocks and bruises,” said coach Santiago Phelan before flying from Wellington. Juan Martín Hernández, who is nursing an injury to his hand, is expected to have no problems to tackle the Australians. “We will have to plan the week very well to ensure there is sufficient recovery time.”
After two games against South Africa, a loss and a draw, and the one game in New Zealand, the Argentine players are starting to feel the stress of so much travel and playing two of the best three teams in the world. During the game in Wellington, a power failure saw the stadium blacked out at halftime. “Having a 20 minute break was very good, we were exhausted,” explained captain Juan Fernández Lobbe.
This first All Blacks v Pumas Rugby Championship game was hyped up as the Power and the Passion. For most of the game, it was Argentina that provided both. As someone said on Twitter in a very busy early morning in Buenos Aires: “They lights did not go off in Wellington, the Pumas tackled them until they broke down.”
The Pumas had a very good first half, in which they scored the game’s opening try and controlled the All Blacks for most of it. In gale winds and under the rain for the opening minutes, it was a very hard game for players in both teams to control the ball or even the game, but if anything, Argentina never gave up for 67 minutes.
It was a deja-vú as a year ago during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal, Argentina scored the game’s first try and the break was more a relief for the All Blacks than for the Pumas. This time, thanks to a great try-saving tackle by Marcelo Bosch, the All Blacks went to the break with a small 6-5 lead.
Veteran prop Rodrigo Roncero scored after Ma’a Nonu lost the ball in a strong tackle by Eusebio Guiñazú. That ball was attacked and Roncero went from the back of a ruck and scored under two tacklers.
The second half saw the All Blacks more precise, controlling the ball much better and putting the Pumas under a serious defensive pressure. They attacked relentlessly and when they seemed to be about to score, flanker Julio Farías was sinbinned for stopping a pass with a deliberate knock-on. That was hard on a team that was starting to tire and the All Blacks found spaces to cross.
Wings Julian Savea and Cory Jane scored on different ends of the field to close the hopes of Argentina.