Dominant New Zealand overwhelm dogged Argentina in Rugby Championship
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GOLD COAST - A rampant New Zealand scored five tries as they eventually ran away to a 39-0 victory over a defensively dogged Argentina in their Rugby Championship clash at the Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast Sunday.
The scoreline did not fully reflect the All Blacks' dominance with Argentina producing a heroic defensive effort that included 200 tackles.
In the opening match of a double-header - with Australia against South Africa to follow - the All Blacks secured their third bonus point in as many matches to stay top of the championship table.
New Zealand were determined not to be caught napping as they were last year when Los Pumas beat the All Blacks for the first time.
And Rieko Ioane, a late addition to the New Zealand starting line-up when Anton Lienert-Brown was sidelined by a troublesome hamstring, was gifted the opening try of the match in the first 10 minutes.
As the All Blacks swept towards the line, Bautista Delguy attempted an intercept but could only knock the ball back over the line and Ioane pounced for the try.
With New Zealand enjoying nearly 70 percent possession for most of the first half, only an exceptional Argentina rearguard kept the scoreline to 7-0 after 30 minutes.
The Pumas stayed competitive, despite being starved of possession, winning scrum penalities, stealing two lineouts and winning 13 turnovers.
But in the closing stages of the first half the All Blacks scored twice to turn around 22-0 ahead.
Jordie Barrett was denied a try when he fielded a cross-kick but came down on the dead ball line.
Santiago Cordero intercepted a pass from Ioane to an unmarked George Bridge and Asafo Aumua was held up over the line.
But as much as the All Blacks dominated possession and territory they could not break the resolute Argentinian defence and eventually resorted to a Beauden Barrett penalty in the 33rd minute to move the scoreboard.
Then, in the closing stages of the first half, which went for 43 minutes, Sevu Reece and Dalton Papalii added tries for the All Blacks with Pablo Matera, one of Argentina's most effective tacklers, in the sin bin after referee Nic Berry warned about repeated infringements.
With Matera still off the field at the start of the second half, Beauden Barrett stepped around three tacklers before flicking a one-handed pass to Luke Jacobson for a fourth try.
But with the All Blacks so dominant, impatience took over and several attacks at the line fell short before Jacobson scored his second after replacement prop Carlos Muzzio was yellow carded as Argentina again suffered disciplinary problems.