TA slender half time lead from the All Blacks was enough to build on as they went into cruise control in the second half, writes Benedict Chanakira
An early Pumas penalty saw them cut the deficit to a two point game. This woke up the beast – a few personnel changes including stalwarts and the All Blacks decided to up the ante.
Two tries from Crotty, Faumuina, Romano and that was the match. An inspired second half saw the men from NZ cruise to a 57-22 win. The benchmark.
It all started with a competitive edge and this sent the All Blacks a few scares. The brilliance of Santiago Cordero opened up the scoring as the away side took an early 7-0 lead. Despite a missed penalty from Beauden Barrett the All Blacks kept on putting pressure.
The ruck speed was immense as both sides looked to keep the ball alive and spread the ball.
Julian Savea stormed under the poles a few minutes after the missed penalty as they drew level. The All Blacks were back in the game.
Two penalties from Sanchez restored the Argentinians’ lead and allowed them to go 13-7 up. It was a titanic clash with skill, flair, hits and intensity.
The All Blacks went toe to toe with the Pumas and hit back immediately with a try from Ben Smith. Julian Savea breaking three tackles on the way was pivotal. 14-13 New Zealand and straight away the Pumas scored a penalty to regain lead.
The All Blacks upped the ante a bit with Dagg nailing a 45 metre kick and a try under the poles from Barrett when Ben Smith grubber through a rushing defence.
All Blacks regain lead in style.
The All Blacks went into the break under pressure and fir the first time in years under pressure from the Pumas.
The second half was again the Pumas that set the tone in the first few minute but then the All Blacks management started to bring on the bench, maybe much earlier than they wanted to but that made the switch in the game.
The All Blacks just step up a gear and a ever tiring Pumas team the holes started to appear and the tries started coming from all over the field. The All Blacks defense also started to work better hitting the Pumas back when on attack.
With power. skill and speed the All Blacks was just too good for the Pumas and they ran in 8 tries in total leaving the Pumas with just three points in that second forty.
The All Blacks have just shown that even under pressure they can take it and come out on top.
For New Zealand:
Tries: J Savea, B Smith 2, Barrett, Crotty 2, Faumuina, Romano
Cons: Barrett 6, Cruden
Pens: Sánchez 5