New Zealand open Rugby Championship campaign with a 39-18 win over Argentina
Last Updated: 21/07/15 11:52am
New Zealand overcame a competitive Argentina to open their Rugby Championship campaign with a 39-18 win on Friday.
The All Blacks, who have not lost a Test match in Christchurch since 1998, showed plenty of power and pace as they scored five tries in all through skipper Richie McCaw, Ma'a Nonu, Charles Piutau, Kieran Read and debutant Codie Taylor.
Dan Carter, who alongside McCaw was making his final appearance for the All Blacks in Christchurch, added four conversions and two penalties.
A young Argentina side put up an impressive fight though and were rewarded with two tries through their skipper Agustin Creevy, with Nicolas Sanchez adding one conversion and two penalties.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen asked for a vast improvement from his side following their 25-16 win over Samoa ten days ago and they duly obliged as they cut down on mistakes and showed plenty of commitment in attack and in defence.
Carter added two penalties and Sanchez one before McCaw scored the first try of the game. The Pumas were forced into some desperate defending as the All Blacks pounded at their line – however a driving maul from the lineout saw the skipper power over from short range. Carter missed the conversion but the All Blacks were up 11-3 after 20 minutes.
Sanchez narrowed the gap to five and it looked like that would be it before the first half but Ma’ a Nonu had other ideas. The powerhouse centre who has been in scintillating form for the Hurricanes, had no problem dealing with two tacklers as he went over. And Carter added the two for an 18-6 lead at half-time.
The All Blacks stepped up a gear in the second half with Piutau going over after some good team work, and they should have got another but Waisake Naholo could not hold onto a trademark Sonny Bill Williams offload.
Things got worse for Argentina who tried to run the ball out of their own 22 only for Read to rip the ball from Horacio Agulla and race over for their fourth try which was converted by Carter.
It looked like the floodgates would open as the defensive work Argentina were putting in started to tell, however New Zealand started to concede a few penalties and the visitors took full advantage
Argentina skipper Augustin Creevy peeled off a driving lineout maul to score and six minutes later their rolling maul paid dividends again as Creevy went over again. Sanchez converted to make it 32-18.
However that was going to be it for Argentina as New Zealand once again powered up field and replacement hooker Codie Taylor made it a dream debut with his try from short range. Carter had the final word in front of his home crowd with the conversion to make it a good day at the office for the defending champions.