Smith ensures bonus point win for All Blacks

Getty Images     30 Sep 2013     Getty Images

New Zealand had to overcome some determined home defensive resistance before getting the vital bonus point try which allows them to go to Ellis Park next week with a five point cushion in the Championship.

Awarded a penalty on the Argentina 22m line, New Zealand kicked for the corner, controlled the lineout ball and replacement halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow delayed a pass momentarily for Smith to charge into the line and beat the tackles of Felipe Contemponi and Nicolas Sanchez to score under the posts.

Taking control in the second half, the All Blacks controlled the tempo of the game and when they lifted the speed Argentina struggled to cope. The breakthrough came after a sustained period of continuity play in the Argentinian 22m area.

After played ranged across field and back, with some powerful driving, the ball emerged on the flank where flanker Sam Cane went over wide out for the try. It was just reward for Cane who showed during the game how much his game has advanced.

Moments later, in the 55th minute, a superb play from a short lineout saw second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu do a double pump with the ball, resulting in a short pass being taken by wing Ben Smith and after he stepped fullback Juan Martin Hernandez he had the speed to make the line which, with the conversion, took New Zealand to a 26-12 lead.

New Zealand went looking for the bonus point try but met stern resistance from the home side who also landed their fifth penalty goal, the fourth of the game to first five-eighths Nicolas Sanchez.

It was a bruising first half with little chance for a dominance to be achieved. Argentina's set piece play was vastly improved on that seen in Hamilton earlier in the competition with the lineout tidier and the scrum as powerful as ever.

Argentina's failure to control a high mid-field kick saw the ball knocked on and wing Julian Savea picked up the ball, beat the tackle attempt of lock Juan Cabello, and cleared out on a 60m burst to score.

Play was held up interminably while the TMO was consulted on two points, and then when the try was awarded Aaron Cruden was given a second attempt after an early charge by Argentina. There was also laser interference from the crowd as he prepared for the kick.

No such problems for home kicker, first five-eighths Nicolas Sanchez who landed three penalty goals. Then, after winning a penalty from a scrum on halfway when their re-start kick went too long, centre Marcello Bosch landed the goal from 51 metres.

The lead was momentary as Argentina infringed in a maul and Cruden landed his third penalty goal.


Argentina 15 (Nicolas Sanchez 4 pen, Marcello Bosch pen ) New Zealand 33 (Julian Savea, Sam Cane, Ben Smith 2 tries; Aaron Cruden con, 3 pen; Barrett con). HT: 9-11