Even with the home side playing at half strength, it was an inevitability that Argentina would succumb to the mighty All Blacks. Nevertheless, positives should be considered as Argentina really did take the game to New Zealand. The final 39-22 result in New Plymouth is rather flattering for the home side and doesn’t really reflect the true nature of the match.
(No, seriously. New Zealand overcame what could have been a massive sporting upset.)
The Kiwis were able to score three tries in the first half, only for fly-half Beauden Barrett to miss every kick at goal. It was Argentina, however, that was the better of the two sides in the first half. Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez was impressive, scoring a try and later converting alongside 2 penalties and a drop goal.
When the whistle blew to commence the second half, an upset was in the cards, with Argentina leading 16-15.
Winger Boffelli and Sanchez were able to further Argentina’s lead with two successive penalties to make the score 22-15.
Despite Barrett’s sin-bin for multiple line infringements in the 50th minute, the All Blacks were able to gain the upper hand. A magnificent Fifita solo try in 51st minute bought the scores 22-22, breathing a degree of life into an otherwise sluggish New Zealand team.
Argentina simply didn’t have the energy to withstand a sustained New Zealand onslaught. In the final 18 minutes the Kiwis were able to add a penalty and two tries to the scoreboard, bringing them to 39 points. New Zealand did score a 7th try, but TMO George Ayoub deemed Fifita’s pass to be forward at the last instant.
By their own standards, New Zealand has been unimpressive of late. They came from behind to beat Argentina and equally underperformed against Australia. However, they have maintained a 100 percent record and in the process picked up two bonus points. This just goes to say how high expectations are for the All Blacks. Despite an impressive haul of 19 tries from just three games, their performances are still being brought into question.
Argentina has yet to pick up a point, but I would say they have improved somewhat since the start of the tournament. The problems, however, remain the same: they lack the depth and experience to see a game out, a situation which hasn’t been helped by numerous injuries.
Elsewhere, South Africa came from ten points behind to draw with Australia in Perth.
New Zealand 39 (Nehe MIlner-Skudder, Anton Lienert-Brown, Israel Dagg, Vaea Fifita, Damian McKenzie, Beauden Barrett tries; Lima Sopoaga 3 con, pen)
Argentina 22 (Nicolas Sanchez tries; Sanchez con, 2 pen, dg, Emiliano Boffelli 2 pen). HT: 15-16.