A rampant New Zealand breezed into the Rugby World Cup Final after a Will Jordan hat-trick helped them cruise past Argentina 44-6 in Paris on Friday.
The All Blacks were a class apart as they dominated Los Pumas at the Stade de France, running in seven tries in total to seal their place in next week’s final.
Jordan’s superb treble was backed up by two tries from Shannon Frizell and one apiece from Jordie Barrett and Aaron Smith in a one-sided semi-final clash.
New Zealand now await the winner of Saturday’s second semi-final that sees England face South Africa as they go into the global finale full of confidence.
Jordan‘s hat-trick lifts him above France’s Damian Penaud as the World Cup’s leading try scorer on eight, placing him level with Jonah Lomu’s record of tries scored in a single tournament.
It was an impressive feat that underlined New Zealand’s attacking genius, but they were assisted by willing victims who were mesmerised by the shapes unfolding in front of them.
Jordan struck from the All Blacks’ very first drive downfield when defenders sucked in by carries after a line-out maul presented an overlap that provided a simple run in.
It began to look grim for Argentina when Barrett went over, finishing a try that began deep inside New Zealand’s half with precise handling and clever running lines resulting in attackers pouring into space.
Emiliano Boffelli’s early penalty was already a distant memory as Argentina were repeatedly overrun at the breakdown with Sam Cane their chief destroyer, while any attack was met with an impregnable wall of black shirts.
A spell of battering away on the line produced only another Boffelli penalty when there was a sense far more would be needed to halt New Zealand’s march towards the final.
Patient All Blacks play paid off when they renewed their assault, methodically working their way into a threatening position and when the moment came they pulled the trigger, Mark Telea almost crossing before Frizell strolled over.
It was becoming a procession and while the favourites were being looked on favourably by referee Angus Gardner at times, there was no denying their ascendency in every facet of the game.
Smith was the next over via a brilliant step, exploiting a Pumas maul defence that was short on manpower, and then even Frizell muscled his way over despite the attention of three would-be tacklers.
Jordan moved past Penaud with New Zealand’s sixth try and his hat-trick score in the 74th minute was a thing of beauty as he slipped through a non-existent Argentina defence, gathered his own kick and scored.
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When the final whistle blew the Pumas sank to their knees, aware they had not shown up on only their third semi-final appearance.
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Francisco Gómez Kodela, 2 Julián Montoya (c), 1 Thomas Gallo
Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Joel Sclavi, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Matías Moroni
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)