Saturday, 7 September 2013

All Blacks Beat Pumas

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New Zealand extended their 100% start to the Rugby Championship with a hard-fought victory over a stubborn Argentina in rain-lashed Hamilton.

The Pumas took an early 7-0 lead with a converted Juan Manuel Leguizamon try.

But a Dan Carter penalty and two quick-fire tries from scrum-half Aaron Smith saw the All Blacks take a 15-10 half-time lead at Waikato Stadium.

Another Carter penalty and Julian Savea's try put the hosts 25-13 clear before Beauden Barrett's late penalty.

But the All Blacks, who equalled their own Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship record with a ninth straight victory in the annual southern hemisphere tournament, saw skipper Richie McCaw limp off with a knee injury on the hour.

Argentina also suffered a blow when Leicester-bound wing Gonzalo Camacho departed early in the second half with a dislocated shoulder.

The visitors had opened the scoring when debutant All Blacks centre Francis Saili knocked the ball on inside his own half and quick hands from the Pumas saw number eight Leguizamon cross, fly-half Nicolas Sanchez converting.

Carter's penalty in response saw Test rugby's record points-scorer become the first man to pass 1400.

He missed with two other shots in the atrocious conditions but when Pumas hooker Eusebio Guinazu was sent to the sin-bin after a series of penalties, the All Blacks pounced with a man advantage.

Smith grabbed his first try after the outstanding Kieran Read's offload out of a double tackle, then three minutes later fell on a kick ahead by Ben Smith after Carter had sparked a counter-attack.

A Sanchez penalty kept the Pumas in it at the interval.

But after the fly-half's exchange of penalties with Carter on the resumption, Read's charge-down of a Sanchez kick in the 54th minute allowed Carter, Saili and Conrad Smith to create the decisive try for Savea, his 14th in 14 Tests.

Carter converted with his last act of the game before his replacement, Barrett, put the outcome beyond doubt with five minutes left.

Saturday's second game sees Australia, who lost their opening two games home and away to New Zealand, host South Africa - who have beaten Argentina twice so far - in Brisbane.

New Zealand: Dagg, B Smith, C Smith, Saili, Savea, Carter, A Smith; Woodcock, Hore, Faumuina, Retallick, Whitelock, Luatua, McCaw, Read.

Replacements: Coles, Crockett, B Franks, Thrush, Cane, Kerr-Barlow, Barrett, Piutau.

Argentina: Hernandez, Camacho, Bosch, Fernandez, Agulla, Sanchez, Landajo, Ayerza, Guinazu, Figallo, Carizza, Farias Cabello, Fernandez Lobbe, Matera, Leguizamon.

Replacements: Creevy, Lobo, Orlandi, Galarza, Macome, Cubelli, Contepomi, Gonzalez Amorosino.

The Rugby Championship 2013

Saturday 18 August
Australia 29-47 New Zealand
South Africa 73-13 Argentina

Saturday 24 August
New Zealand 27-16 Australia
Argentina 17-22 South Africa

Saturday 7 September
New Zealand 28-13 Argentina
Australia v South Africa 

Saturday 14 September
New Zealand v South Africa
Australia v Argentina

Saturday 28 September
South Africa v Australia
Argentina v New Zealand

Saturday 5 October
South Africa v New Zealand
Argentina v Australia

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