A challenging few weeks for New Zealand rugby ends on a high. The Tri-Nations is all but secured with a comprehensive bonus point victory over Argentina, and only an Australian miracle next week can deny them silverware.
It was a performance set up by a muscular showing from the All Blacks pack, eager to show the unexpected defeat a fortnight ago was an aberration. The lineout was flawless, the scrum ferocious, and the breakdown relentless as black jerseys controlled territory and tempo. Savea and Ioane in particular caught the eye.
The backline was less fluent and for an hour the scoreline did not reflect New Zealand’s dominance. Time again there was poor decision making or execution from Smith, Mo’unga or an outside back. The All Blacks attempted, and failed to profit from, a large number of low percentage attacking kicks when patient rugby was perhaps a more prudent approach. But the points did come eventually, and in a rush, with Will Jordan stealing the limelight in a two-try cameo off the bench.
It was a chastening night for the much-changed Pumas. The defence was typically resolute - despite the final score - but whenever they took possession they coughed it up soon after with countless handling errors. The adrenaline and unity of purpose that carried them through two matches deserted them in game three. Their valiant tour has one more stop next week against Australia.
That’s all from me for tonight, thank you for your company. See you next weekend.
Argentina 0-38 New Zealand
TRY! Argentina 0-38 New Zealand (Tuipulotu 80+6)
Yellow Card! Lomax, 80
TRY! Argentina 0-31 New Zealand (Jordan 71)
TRY! Argentina 0-24 New Zealand (Jordan 69)
TRY! Argentina 0-17 New Zealand (Savea 53)