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Scrum power a boost as All Blacks dominate

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Lynn McConnell     17 Jul 2015     Getty Images

Scoring five tries to two, New Zealand secured a bonus points but more importantly some questions were answered after the Samoa outing.

Fullback Israel Dagg looked more assured and ran well onto the ball while second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams was much more of a handful. Ma'a Nonu looked comfortable at centre and put his power to good use in scoring the first try of the game.

Halfback TJ Perenara also demonstrated his improvement of the Super Rugby season was transferable to the international game with an impressive display.

Still not at full strength, the All Blacks had much more cause for satisfaction from the performance as they next contemplate South Africa's challenge.

The outstanding loose forward trio combined to produce the first try after 20 minutes. It came with blindside flanker Jerome Kaino taking the ball at No.2 in the lineout after the All Blacks opted for a lineout rather than a shot at goal when leading 6-3.

Captain Richie McCaw ran around from the back of the lineout to take the ball around the front where he was joined by No.8 Kieran Read who gave him sufficient impetus to plough through the defence to score the try.

On the half-time break from a mid-field scrum, resulting from Argentina's first five-eighths Nicolas Sanchez kicking a 22m drop out straight into touch. The All Blacks weren't able to build immediately from the scrum. But good lead-up work by Waisake Naholo on the right flank, and lock Luke Romano and Williams on the left, created enough space for Nonu to take on three of the Pumas outside backs to step his way through to score.

Argentina were applied in their defensive endeavour, massing cover tacklers as New Zealand probed on both sides of the field during the first half, but they were rarely in the All Blacks' half. Their only attacking burst was negated by the home defence and ended with a poor dropped goal attempt by Sanchez.

Naholo, who rolled his ankle in the second half, was quickly involved, making one fine break out from the All Blacks' 22m area to highlight his latent attacking ability while Dagg wasted no time in running ball, with one superb break recalling some of the electric breaks associated with earlier in his career.

There was no respite after the break when Carter had a 52m penalty goal attempt fall short. From the restart, New Zealand secured the ball. Read had a strong burst down the sideline and after play was taken infield, it came back to the blindside where Kaino fed wing Charles Piutau over wide out.

Eight minutes later, the bonus point try was secured when from a ruck in the Argentina 22m area, Read took the ball from fullback Joaquin Tuculet and ran 10m for the simples of tries.

Creevy was a genuine toiler for his side, leading the defensive charge, and he had his own reward in the 57th minute, when after opting for a penalty kick to the corner rather than for goal. The ball was secured in the lineout, the maul set up and after throwing the ball in, Creevy joined the back of the maul as it swung to the right giving him an untroubled path to the corner to score.

Argentina repeated the dose again four minutes later, this time working the ball, firstly to the right, and then turning to the left when their way was blocked. But Creevy, whose earlier try was his first in Tests, had another.

New Zealand's response came via its scrum with Argentina pinned on their goal-line. The Pumas managed one scrum turnover after Read had been attempting to control the ball on the wheel at the back. But the All Blacks turned on the power to force the disintegration of the Argentine scrum. McCaw picked up the ball and drove to the line and from the ruck it was the replacement hooker Codie Taylor who celebrated his Test debut with the try.

Scorers: New Zealand 39 (Richie McCaw, Ma'a Nonu, Charles Piutau, Keiran Read, Codie Taylor tries; Dan Carter 4 con, 2 pen) Argentina 18 (Agustin Creevy 2 tries; Nicolas Sanchez con, 2 pen). HT: 18-6