All Blacks see off plucky Pumas in Brisbane

Date published: September 18 2021 - David Skippers

New Zealand made it four wins from four in the Rugby Championship but were made to work as they beat Argentina 36-13 in Brisbane on Saturday.

As the scoreline suggests, this encounter was not as one-sided as last weekend’s Test on the Gold Coast – with the Pumas being more competitive – but the All Blacks still claimed a bonus point as they outscored their opponents five tries to one.

Tupou Vaa’i led the way with a brace of five-pointers while Patrick Tuipulotu, TJ Perenara and Samisoni Taukei’aho also dotted down and Jordie Barrett finished with an 11-point haul after adding four conversions and a penalty.

Emiliano Boffelli scored all Argentina’s points courtesy of a try, a conversion and two penalties.

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New Zealand were fastest out of the blocks and opened the scoring after five minutes when Tuipulotu crossed from close quarters after a superb line break from Hoskins Sotutu in the build-up.

Barrett added the extras before Boffelli reduced the deficit shortly afterwards via a penalty after Ethan Blackadder was blown up for obstruction.

New Zealand had the bulk of the possession during the next 10 minutes but Argentina did well on defence and a Barrett penalty in the 13th minute was the All Blacks’ only reward during that period.

In the 17th minute, slick handling and interpassing between New Zealand’s forwards and backs from broken play saw Will Jordan crossing the whitewash but referee Jaco Peyper correctly ruled out his try due to the pass from Taukei’ahoto being forward.

Five minutes later, Jordan gathered a chip kick from Damian McKenzie in Argentina’s half before offloading to Rieko Ioane, who went over under the posts, but once again the final pass went forward and that effort was also disallowed.

The All Blacks continued to dominate and in the 29th minute they attacked off the back of a scrum on Argentina’s five-metre line and Perenara forced his way over the try-line after gathering a pass from Sotutu.

And just before half-time, Vaa’i rounded off a flowing move, in which the ball went through several pairs of hands in the build-up, which meant the All Blacks were cruising with the score 24-3 in their favour at half-time.

The second half started with Boffelli adding another penalty but it wasn’t long before the All Blacks regained the initiative courtesy of Taukei’aho’s try after great offloading from Jordan and Ardie Savea in the build-up.

Despite that setback, the Pumas did not surrender and they were soon on the attack inside the All Blacks’ half. The South Americans’ attacking endeavour was rewarded in the 52nd minute when Santiago Carreras delivered an inch perfect cross-field kick which Boffelli gathered before scoring in the left-hand corner.

The Pumas wing showed his class as he landed the difficult conversion from close to the touchline and with the score 29-13 to the All Blacks, Argentina were more energetic during the rest of the match.

Although they did most of the attacking during the next 25 minutes, the All Blacks also had a chance to increase their lead but after doing well to charge down a clearance kick close to the Pumas try-line, Finlay Christie failed to regather the ball while crossing the whitewash.

In the game’s closing stages, Quinn Tupaea won a turnover inside Argentina’s half and the All Blacks soon launched a counter attack. The ball came out to Scott Barrett, who offloaded out of the back of his hand to Vaa’i, who crossed for his second try which added some gloss to his side’s victory.