The Rugby Championship

New breed of All Blacks rise to occasion, putting Argentina to sword in dazzling first half

Captain Kieran Read scores two tries and earns a yellow card as New Zealand flaunt depth in a 36-10 win over Argentina

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 October, 2017, 12:13pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 October, 2017, 8:02pm

Holders New Zealand celebrated their fifth Rugby Championship in six years with four tries in a devastating first half to beat Argentina 36-10 at Velez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

The All Blacks had retained their crown earlier in the day when South Africa were left without a chance of catching them in their final meeting next week after being held to a 27-27 draw by Australia in Bloemfontein.

Captain Kieran Read scored two tries as his team led 29-3 at the interval but earned one of two All Black yellow cards, the other going to Matt Todd, in a ragged second half for his team as the Pumas recovered from their poor, undisciplined first half when they had lock Tomas Lavanini sin-binned.

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Wing Waisake Naholo and full back Damian McKenzie also scored first half tries as Argentina replied with a try from 80-cap veteran Juan Manuel Leguizamon and kept the All Blacks out until debutant David Havili went over for his side’s fifth after the full-time hooter.

“We ended up with a half of rugby that we aren’t overly excited about,” New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said.

“But we’ve got some great lessons out of it for a young group of players ... losing your skipper was great for us because we ended up needing someone to lead the team.

“I’m very proud we came here and played very well in the first half and did things right. It’s a difficult place to play.”

Fly half Beauden Barrett, who kicked 11 points, orchestrated fast moves that scythed through the Pumas defence in a complete contrast to the teams’ previous test in New Plymouth in which Argentina led at half-time before an All Blacks surge in the last half-hour gave them a 39-22 win.

“I am proud of the boys who defended brilliantly at times,” Read said.

“It was good for the less experienced boys in the team to sample playing in one of the toughest atmospheres in world rugby.

“David (Havili) produced some special touches when he came on and his try rounded off a special day for him.

“Overall, it was a performance to be proud of and we now look forward to facing the Springboks in Cape Town,” Read said.