Richie McCaw admits it’s a relief to have the Rugby Championship in the bag before the All Blacks travel to South Africa on Saturday.
New Zealand sealed a third straight title with a 34-13 win over Argentina away in La Plata, scoring four tries to secure a bonus point.
Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Julian Savea and TJ Perenara went over for the All Blacks, with Horacio Agulla grabbing a late consolation for the Pumas.
That means that New Zealand are guaranteed to finish the competition on top, with a six-point lead over the Springboks, who they face in Johannesburg next weekend.
McCaw, who played his 133rd game for the All Blacks to match Colin Meads’ record, also reserved special praise for Malakai Fekitoa, who stood out in the New Zealand midfield.
“It’s nice not to have to worry about bonus points or different permutations,” said McCaw.
“It will be a normal South African All Blacks test match and everything that comes with that. That’s exciting. We want to go and play well and win.
“They were lovely conditions to play in and I’m really proud of the way the guys took their opportunities.
“The Pumas came to play as well and I think it was a pretty good match to watch but I’m proud of our guys because we took our chances.
“We defended really well and didn’t let them over until the last minutes of the game, that shows the backbone of the team.
“He’s pretty new to international rugby but I was pleased with the way he took his chance tonight. [Fekitoa’s] a threat when he has the ball and a hard man to tackle, with Ma’a being injured, to see him have a good crack was great.”