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All Blacks secure title with dominant pack

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Lynn McConnell     30 Sep 2018     Getty Images

Answering the call to get back on a winning track after their loss to South Africa, the All Blacks introduced less experienced players to also take the benefit of big-game exposure from the win.

Much had been made of Argentina's chance to finally record a win over the Al Blacks but in spite of dominating possession and position for much of the game, they rarely challenged the All Blacks' control and composure.

A special feature of the effort was the superb game produced by Ardie Savea, who was a late starter at No.8 after Luke Whitelock was indisposed with a stomach ailment. Savea took his chance to demonstrate how effective he can be in the less familiar role he was required to play, even down to being unstoppable playing at the front of the lineout.



Having done his core duties so effectively he came to light on attack midway through the second half with powerful play off the back of the scrum, and also standing off rucks.

It was his initial sideline thrust that finally quelled the Argentine spirit when ball was carried into the opposition half courtesy of a trademark second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams' offload to double tryscorer wing Rieko Ioane who was denied a third try by a desperate ankle tap.

But Argentina infringed and by opting for the lineout the All Blacks set up the chance to drive at the line and at the third phase it was replacement lock Patrick Tuipulotu who scored.

Argentina responded immediately with replacement halfback Tomas Cubelli getting over to pull the score back to 10-28. And then in the 67th minute Jeronimo De La Fuente kicked a long ball through after the All Blacks turned the ball over and fullback Emiliano Boffelli chased hard to see blindside flanker Pablo Matera charge ahead. From the goalline ruck the ball went wide to Boffelli who scored in the corner.

However, loose ball in midfield from Argentina was kicked deep by cnetre Ryan Crotty and while first five-eighths Beauden Barrett, who had moved to fullback, didn't score in a great chase at the line, a five-metre scrum was awarded and the All Blacks scrum maintained its dominance and it was replacement first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga who slipped a kick through for fellow substitute Anton Lienert-Brown to score.

Savea featured early securing New Zealand's first lineout, after two early turnovers conceded to long throws that missed their target. From the lineout, Barrett threw a miss pass to Crotty. Blindside wing Waisake Naholo joined the line and ran into a big gap.

Racing ahead he was ankle-tapped but not before he got a pass to fullback Ben Smith and he provided Ioane with the chance to step inside the defence and score his 19th try in his 19th Test. Barrett also made a statement by landing a sideline conversion.

Argentina failed to secure a lineout after a Crotty kick through to the corner and from a five-metre scrum resulting from an Argentine knock-on, Naholo came in at first receiver to take halfback TJ Perenara's pass and stretch out to score.

Twenty-nine minutes into the half, Argentina turned the ball over and attempted to run the ball out from their 22m area but when wing Bautista Delguy went to ground, defender Taylor was pushed into Delguy by an Argentine player. The ball popped out the side and Ioane only had to pick up the ball and run in from 25m out to score.

Argentina had a chance to score in the moments before halftime, during which Williams was sin-binned after a team warning had been issued in the red zone, but they failed to secure lineout ball and the scrum went to the All Blacks.

Savea drove hard off the back of the scrum to clear the line effectively, and in moving the ball the Argentine defenders were penalised for knocking the ball down.

It was poor reward for the home side who dominated territory and possession for the first half but made too many mistakes to punish the All Blacks on the scoreboard.

Argentina started the second half but made costly errors, with the scrum again vulnerable allowing the All Blacks to reduce pressure and clear the line and being able to avoid conceding points in Williams' absence.

Scorers: Argentina 17 (Tomas Cubelli, Emiliano Boffelli tries; Nicolas Sanchez 2 con, pen) New Zealand 35 (Rieko Ioane 2, Waisake Naholo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Anton Lienert-Brown tries; Beauden Barret 4 con; Richie Mo'unga con). HT: 3-21