Lienert-Brown, Tuipulotu step up in All Blacks' win

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Lynn McConnell     02 Oct 2016     Getty Images

Argentina avoided an embarrassing outcome by putting up a competitive period of scrummaging in the middle stages of the second half, time that produced a try for them, two yellow cards for the All Blacks and denied the All Blacks ball for a long period of the second half. 


The number of penalties conceded and ability to take charge will have been on concern for the All Blacks as they extended their winning run to 16 Tests.

But in the sublime first 44 minutes of the game, the All Blacks were rampant with Lienert-Brown a positive livewire in the midfield, scoring the first try and having a true centre's involvement in each of the others.

Tuipulotu was a behemoth with the ball in hand against the strong home pack and featured in some fine efforts taking the ball forward.

Given the changes made to the side it was another comprehensive statement of where the All Blacks sit in the rugby stratosphere at the moment. Argentina were strong through the early stages without getting a positive chance to attack and it was merely a waiting game for the All Blacks who were ready for the fast start the Pumas had achieved in Hamilton.

The All Blacks' decision to eschew a chance for three automatic points from a penalty chance in front of the posts in the 22nd minute eventually paid off. It took three scrums and some determined pick and drives before finally creating the chance five minutes later.

It came with halfback TJ Perenara passing the ball to Barrett, who flicked it on quickly to Lienert-Brown, running a perfect line, to break the first defence and then crash over by the posts.

Having got on the board with a 33rd minute penalty goal to first five-eighths Nicolas Sanchez, they failed to find touch from the re-start, and it proved the first of some key blunders that allowed the All Blacks to take a 29-3 lead to the half-time break.

After wing Julian Savea ran the first failed kick to touch back, Tuipulotu charged upfield and the chance was provided on the right flank for wing Israel Dagg but he was squeezed out in the corner.

Inexplicably, because it goes against all the defensive tenets of rugby, Argentina hooker Agustin Creevy then threw a long ball at the lineout, and the only person waiting for it was All Blacks No.8 Kieran Read. From the ruck, Barrett linked with Lienert-Brown who ran into the gap and then fed around the tackle to second five-eighths Ryan Crotty who had doubled round to score.

After 38 minutes, Lienert-Brown was in the action again, charging down an attempted kick by Pumas second five-eighths Santiago Gonzales Iglesias. The ball was secured by Dagg, who in-passed to Lienert-Brown and his in-pass was taken by hooker Dane Coles.

Then from the re-start the All Blacks ran the ball back with Crotty making good ground on the left flank to in-pass to fullback Ben Smith who found TJ Perenara and he scored as the All Blacks scored three tries in six minutes.

Returning after the break the All Blacks continued to move the ball and Lienert-Brown was perfectly placed on the sideline as ruck ball was moved on the blindside to thread the needle with an in-pass to Smith who scored.

A period on attack in front of the All Blacks posts saw prop Joe Moody sin-binned for conceding two penalties in the same movement and Argentina opted to scrum and after three or four attempts to secure clean ball it was the Argentine player of the day No.8 Facundo Isa who went over at the back of the pushover scrum.

Four minutes from the end Argentina scored their second try when a cross-kick evaded replacement fullback Damian McKenzie to be taken by fullback Joaquin Tuculet who scored.

Scorers: Argentina 17 (Facundo Isa, Joaquin Tuculet tries; Nicolas Sanchez con, pen; Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias con) New Zealand 36 (Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Dane Coles, TJ Perenara, Ben Smith tries; Beauden Barrett 4 con, pen). HT: 29-3