|Argentina: (0) 0|
|New Zealand: (10) 38|
|Tries: Coles, Savea, Jordan (2), Tuipulotu Pens: Mo’unga Cons: Mo’unga (5)|
New Zealand crushed Argentina 38-0 to avenge their shock defeat two weeks ago and all but seal the Tri-Nations title.
The All Blacks dominated from the start of the match in Newcastle, Australia, but only led 10-0 at half-time after hooker Dane Coles’ try in the corner.
Ardie Savea burst through early in the second half before Will Jordan raced over for two tries within 10 minutes of coming on.
Patrick Tuipulotu then touched down a stunning team try in overtime.
Argentina and Australia both have six points and face each other in the final game of the tournament next weekend but it would need a remarkable bonus-point victory for either side to overtake New Zealand.
Victory eased the pressure on New Zealand head coach Ian Foster whose future has been the subject of much debate after successive defeats by the Wallabies and the Pumas.
“It’s extremely satisfying,” said All Blacks captain Sam Cane. “There’s no hiding that we’ve had tough few weeks, we felt the pain of the losses and I’m really proud of the work we have put in the last two weeks.
“The way that the Pumas defended and kept us out numerous times is a real credit to their desire. But I’m proud of the way we were able to stay patient and we got there in the end.”
All Blacks take game to Argentina
Three-time world champions New Zealand had the benefit of a week’s rest while Argentina coach Mario Ledesma made 10 changes from the side that battled back to draw with Australia last Saturday, perhaps losing some cohesion in a bid to freshen up his side for a match played in brutal 30C heat.
New Zealand’s determination was clear from the off and they thought they had an early score but Beauden Barrett’s try was ruled out because of a knock-on.
However, the pressure paid off and hooker Coles crashed over in the corner following a looping pass from fly-half Richie Mo’unga.
Mo’unga then raced through a gap in the overstretched Pumas defence and released Caleb Clarke but the winger’s thigh grazed the touchline before he touched down.
The All Blacks could have added further points to press home their first-half dominance - they had 75% possession and only needed to make 16 tackles to Argentina’s 90 - but Mo’unga’s penalty hit the post, giving Argentina hope of a second-half turnaround.
All Blacks turn on style in second half
Argentina’s hopes were ended early in the second half when Savea powered over from a line-out move and then the floodgates opened as the Pumas tired.
Jordan picked up a loose ball to touch down his first try and two minutes later he intercepted a pass and darted down the wing to score his second.
There was still time for a bit of All Black showboating as second row Tuipulotu galloped over the line to finish off a brilliant team effort after the hooter had gone.
Pumas skipper Pablo Matera denied that the team’s numerous changes was a key reason for their defeat.
“We were not clinical, there were too many handling errors when we got the ball, some mistakes in defence as well, so not a good thing for us,” he said.
“I don’t think that was the problem. It was a whole team thing. There were many, many mistakes.”
Argentina: Boffelli; Cordero, Mallia, De la Fuente, Moyano; Sanchez, Ezcurra; Vivas, Montoya, Medrano, Petti, Paulos, Matera (capt), Kremer, Isa.
Replacements: Socino, Tetaz Chaparro, Sordoni, Alemanno, Grondona, Bertranou, Carreras, Mensa.
New Zealand: B Barrett, J Barrett, Liernert-Brown, Goodhue, Clarke, Mo’unga, Smith; Moody, Coles, Laulala, S Barrett, Whitelock, A Ioane, Cane (capt), Savea.
Replacements: Taylor, Tuinukuafe, Lomax, Tuipulotu, Sotutu, Perenara, R Ioane, Jordan.
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
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