All Blacks jump to handy lead on competition ladder

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At the halfway stage of the Championship, the All Blacks have three bonus-point wins and sit five points clear of South Africa.


All Blacks coach Ian Foster watched another step in his side's growth and said 'clinical' and 'patient' were not adjectives he would usually use to describe an All Blacks win, but he felt that was appropriate.


"If you look at their [Argentina's] track record, they're a hard team to score tries against. They know their defensive system pretty well, and they're willing to go to whatever lengths they can to stop you getting a flow on," he said.


The All Blacks stuck to their method. Argentina needed to make a lot of tackles, and that brought scoreboard rewards for the All Blacks.


"The series in South Africa, the Springboks found it hard to score tries against them and built their scores in threes, so I liked our patience," he said.


Foster felt they were also seeing the reward for developing resilience in coping with distractions or not playing at the pace they wanted. That was evident when captain Brodie Retallick decided that rather than look to score a try, to take a penalty goal to ensure pressure on the scoreboard increased.


Retallick said they talked a lot about being patient in the first half.



"We talked about carrying and cleaning and not letting them get over the ball, and our opportunities will come. It wasn't always completely accurate, and on the whole, we had to work, and we started to find some space a little bit wider.


"I thought it was a great Test match. Not every match is going to be easy and playing Argentina was different to Australia, so I thought it was good for us looking forward to the next two or three weeks," he said.


Retallick said their Championship games against the Wallabies had produced some long-range tries, and there had been a lot of running metres in their Perth game a week earlier.


"Today, we had to break them down – we made them make a lot of tackles, and also the battle around the set-piece.


"Although we gave away a few penalties at scrum time, at scrum time, and our maul in particular we built some pressure there and it ended with a yellow card so we can be proud of what we did around the front," he said.


Again, it was the defence that laid the foundation. Foster said that had been strong.


"At set-piece time, we gave them a lot of poor quality ball, and our defence was strong, and aggressive, at times.


"It wasn't perfect, but we imposed ourselves, and I did feel quite safe watching them have the ball. It felt we were pretty secure, so we're making some good steps in that space. The key is we're actually enjoying the defence side of it," he said.


They had studied what Argentina was doing this year, and their defence had been impressive. The way the All Blacks went about taking that apart was a good sign for the long year they still face, he said.


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