May 19, 2013
All Blacks too much for Pumas
Argentina lose to New Zealand 54-15
by Frankie Deges
For the Herald
LA PLATA — The All Blacks won the inaugural Rugby Championship in a full-house in La Plata’s Estadio Único beating Argentina 54-15 in an entertaining game. Argentina scored two tries and generally tried a more open game, but their tackling was not as hard or effective as in the previous four games and the All Blacks scored seven tries. The defending World Champions were by far the best team in a tournament that has one round left.
It took the All Blacks eight minutes to come to the party; after an error-prone opening fifteen minutes, centre Ma’a Nonu broke from a ruck and an avenue opened for him. In the desperate double tackle of González Amorosino and Landajo, he passed inside to scrumhalf Aaron Smith for a neat converted try. Carter, four minutes later, kicked a penalty to take a 10-5 lead.
Once the All Blacks got momentum, they were at their best. Kieran Read timed his angled run to perfection to pass to winger Corey Jane for the second try. After Carter and Juan Martín Hernández exchanged penalties, wing Savea twice kicked the ball to dive on it in-goal for the All Black’s third try after the Pumas’ lost it in a tackle.
New Zealand, despite the 23-8 lead, took nothing for granted, kicking penalties from halfway. Carter just missed. Despite the big, supportive crowd, Argentina were unable to contain an All Black side that again attacked deep and had Savea touching down for his second try, leaving the score at an unassailable 32-8.
Argentina had to score early in the second half to get, somehow, back into the game. Before being replaced, Agulla ran a quick tapped penalty and when stopped, Camacho ran straight to score in the tackle to close to 32-15.
They had little time to reflect on their real possibilities. Savea, drew three defenders to pass to Jane for a 51st minute try. Soon, the All Blacks used their bench and they made effective use of their new flyhalf Aaron Cruden — from a quick tapped lineout, he ran straight to pass to centre Nonu for yet another try, on the hour — 44-15 was a fair reflection of the champion side New Zealand is.
Argentina tried to attack with no order and gained no advantage despite having possession. So, when the All Blacks, who had patiently defended, had an opportunity, Cruden kicked a 68th minute penalty to calm things down. With seconds to go, Hernández got a pass intercepted by Corey Jane for his hat-trick; Cruden’s touch-line goalkick finished a game clearly won by the All Blacks.