Rugby Championship: New Zealand topple Argentina 34-13 to secure the title
Last Updated: 28/09/14 9:57am
New Zealand clinched the 2014 Rugby Championship with a bonus-point 34-13 win over Argentina in La Plata.
The All Blacks ran in four tries through Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Julian Savea and TJ Perenara, while Beauden Barrett kicked 14 points.
The hosts' only try came at the end, with Horacio Agulla crossing, although it was not enough to deny New Zealand a third consecutive Rugby Championship crown.
The victory made it four wins and a draw from five games for New Zealand and saw them wrap up the title with the final round of fixtures still to come.
Barrett got the All Blacks up and running early on with two penalties before Smith crossed for the first try in the 12th minute.
The ball was worked out wide to Dagg, who burst clear and then found Smith on the switch to score. Barrett added the extras.
Nicolas Sanchez got the hosts on the board with a penalty, but New Zealand hit straight back.
Dagg and Smith were again heavily involved, this time the latter turning provider as he accepted a Malakai Fekitoa offload before helping the ball on to Dagg to score down the right.
A successful conversion had New Zealand 20-3 up although another Sanchez penalty made it 20-6 at half-time.
In the 57th minute Savea added a third try, bouncing off three opponents before powering over. Barrett's kicking was again flawless.
And 12 minutes later the bonus-point try ranged from one end of the field to the other and featured an outstanding break by flanker Jerome Kaino and the involvement of Savea, whose final pass gave replacement scrum-half T.J. Perenara his first Test try. Barrett's conversion made it 34-6.
Argentina continued to show spirit and crossed two minutes from time, Agulla crossing before Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias added the conversion.
But it was far too little too late as the All Blacks were already home and dry, the championship secure.
"We wanted to win the game first and foremost," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said. "If you go in there with an attitude that you want to score four tries then you're going in with the wrong attitude."
"They played a great game," Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade said. "The simple way they do things is awesome. They played the breakdown much better and made a difference there.
"Also, we could not make the most of our clean breaks. We paid for our mistakes with points against us."