All Blacks aim for fast start against Argentina

Date published: September 28 2016

New Zealand are out to avoid another slow start when they come up against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

While the All Blacks are renowned for their ability to switch gears in the second-half and blow teams away, they are sometimes guilty of starting Test matches too slowly which then forces them on the backfoot as they have to chase a game.

This was recently the case against Argentina in Hamilton and South Africa in Christchurch where New Zealand allowed the opposition to get a foothold in the match before a typical strong second-half performance saw them home in the end.

While it has worked well for them when playing at home, it might be a bigger challenge if the same scenario repeats itself against a fired up los Pumas in front of their hostile home crowd.

It’s something the All Blacks have worked on this week as they prepare to face Argentina in the penultimate round of the Rugby Championship.

“We want a good start this week. It’s a focus of ours,” fly-half Beauden Barrett said.

“It is every game but in particular Argentina come out firing and we have to match that in their backyard. They’re very passionate and feed off their home crowd so we want to get on top of that early.”

Barrett, enjoying a dream season, is well aware of his opposite Nicolas Sanchez, a popular figure who is front and centre on billboards in the Argentine capital endorsing beer and cars alongside the likes of Lionel Messi.

“He’s a very skillful player, a great goal-kicker but also he’s a brave young man. He puts his body on the line defensively and when he starts to run the ball he’s a dangerous threat so we have to keep an eye of him,” he added.