All Blacks tame the Pumas
The deadly accuracy of Piri Weepu helped steer New Zealand to a 33-10 quarter-final victory over Argentina.
Last Updated: 09/10/11 6:29pm
The deadly accuracy of Piri Weepu's boot helped steer New Zealand to a 33-10 quarter-final victory over Argentina.
The scrum-half landed 21 points for the All Blacks, while Kieran Read and Brad Thorn scored tries late on - but a gritty and determined display from the Pumas ensured that the hosts didn't have things all their own way.
Argentina briefly held the lead in the first half, while fly-half Colin Slade limped off as the home nerves jangled at Eden Park.
However, with Weepu pulling the strings and Argentina hamstrung by the sin-binning of Nicolas Vergallo, New Zealand were able to secure a semi-final showdown with Australia.
Argentina gave everything, with Julio Farias Cabello scoring their only try while Felipe Contepomi added a conversion and Martin Rodriguez slotted over a penalty.
Santiago Fernandez had their best opportunity to open the scoring during a frantic start, but the Pumas fly-half saw his drop-goal effort dip under the bar.
And it was Weepu that saw the All Blacks into the lead with a well-struck penalty after 12 minutes.
The All Blacks were denied the opening try of the match when the TMO ruled Read's foot was in touch before he grounded the ball, with Fernandez putting in the crucial tackle.
Weepu doubled his tally with a second penalty, though, while New Zealand got a let-off as Felipe Contepomi dragged his effort wide.
However the Pumas stunned the tournament favourites when Cabello drove over in the corner. Superb running from Leonardo Senatore and then Rodriguez set the platform for Cabello to pick up and dive over for his first international try. Contepomi converted.
New Zealand moved back into the lead with Weepu again having no problem landing the penalty, while the scrum-half made it 12-7 just before the break
That lead was down to just two points five minutes after the break after a thumping long-range penalty from Rodriguez.
New Zealand's response was immediate as Weepu again kept his composure to land a penalty.
And the Pumas challenge was dealt a major blow when Vergallo was sin-binned for deliberately killing the ball as the All Blacks cranked up the pressure. Weepu's penalty made it 18-10.
The All Blacks finally put the game beyond doubt with 13 minutes left when Read dived over, with Rodriguez so close to intercepting Jerome Kaino's pass.
Weepu might have blotted his copybook with the conversion attempt, but his seventh successful kick of the day saw New Zealand move 16 points clear.
The score was given an unfair look to it when Thorn ran in unopposed following a superb offload from Cory Jane. Aaron Cruden added the extras.