All Blacks lay on ruthless display in Mendoza

Emoni Narawa

Scoring seven tries to two, they attacked the Argentinian areas of strength – the scrum, the lineout and the breakdown, and matched the intensity of the home side's defence. A 31-0 lead at halftime fairly represented the difference between the sides.

A powerful scrum display where props Ethan de Groot and Tyrell Lomax continued their advance from the end of last season while blindside flanker Shannon Frizell made a strong statement with his display. Captain and flanker Sam Cane and No8 Ardie Savea had a torrid day on the loose.

Second five-eighths Jordie Barrett made 14 tackles in the midfield and was firm in cover defence, while the experiment of playing Damian McKenzie at first five-eighths was a success, albeit avoiding the worst possible start with a goalline clearance charged down 31 seconds in the game. Fortunately, he recovered to get to the ball for a dropout.

But in other areas, he gave the All Blacks the momentum that saw them run the ball with effect from deep within their half.

Argentina pinned New Zealand for the opening moments, but once centre Rieko Ioane raced into a gap and made ground to link with debut wing Emoni Narawa who passed infield, their confidence grew. Flanker Shannon Frizell slipped a short pass to lock Scott Barrett, who fed hooker Dane Coles for the opening try in the fourth minute.


Attacking from the restart, they moved the ball to Narawa again, and, when covered, his in pass allowed the All Blacks deep into the Argentine 22m area, where the home team conceded a penalty. Lock Josh Lord, another to impress, claimed the ball, and again, it was moved with Ioane and Scott Barrett having attempted to score before Savea scored in the eighth minute.

Winning the restart again, the All Blacks looked to continue moving the ball, and upon receiving a call on the blindside, halfback Aaron Smith fed fullback Beauden Barrett on the sideline. He shook off the defence and ran ahead to pass to brother, second five-eighths Jordie Barrett who ran in from 30m out to score.

Argentina looked to take advantage of defensive penalties conceded by the All Blacks and had two attempts at lineout drives at the line. The first resulted in another penalty, and the second saw the ball lost as they looked to score by the posts. The All Blacks won the penalty at the five-metre scrum and cleared their 22.

The power of the All Blacks scrum allowed the Pumas no respite. From a 28th-minute scrum, impressive blindside flanker Shannon Frizell made good ground towards the line and from the goalmouth ruck, the ball was cleared for McKenzie to attract the defence and then find Ioane, who burst out of a tackle attempt to score. The bonus for New Zealand was No8 Rodrigo Bruni being sin-binned for side entry to the maul.


However, after conceding no more points after the resumption, Bruni made his return with a storming run to beneath the All Blacks goalposts and, finally, after several pick-and-goes, tighthead prop Lucio Sordoni planted the ball over the line in the 51st minute.

New Zealand responded by pressuring Argentina's clearance from the restart, and from a scrum outside the 22m, the ball was moved for McKenzie to achieve a double round to emphasise his speed to create space out wide where Beauden Barrett was able to run in the try.

Just before the end, Narawa was rewarded for an impressive first Test when quick hands across the line allowed him to dive in at the corner for a try on debut.

Argentina, a more impressive unit in the second half, finished with an injury-time try when hooker Agustin Creevy scored from a lineout maul.

Next weekend, the All Blacks face South Africa at Go Media Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. The Springboks were equally impressive in their opening Test of the year, dispatching Australia 43-12 

Scorers: Argentina 12 (Lucio Sordoni, Agustin Creevy tries; Emiliano Boffelli con) New Zealand 41 (Dane Coles, Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Emoni Narawa tries;  Damian McKenzie 3 con). HT: 0-31


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