New Zealand pay tribute to Diego Maradona before dealing out ruthless revenge beating to Argentina in Tri-Nations
All Blacks score five tries in 38-0 battering and will secure title barring remarkable result in last match between Pumas and Australia next weekend
New Zealand thrashed Argentina 38-0 in a Tri-Nations test in Newcastle on Saturday to gain a measure of revenge for their stunning loss to the Pumas two weeks ago.
The victory ended New Zealand's first losing streak of more than one match – 24-22 against Australia then the shock 25-15 defeat to the Pumas – since 2011 and Argentina's fairytale run in the tournament after their first win over the All Blacks was followed by a draw with Australia last week.
Argentina and Australia both have six points and face each other in the final game of the tournament next weekend but it would need a remarkable scoreline for either side to overtake New Zealand, who have 11 points and a vastly superior points difference.
New Zealand captain Sam Cane said: "It is extremely satisfying. We have had a tough three weeks, The scoreboard doesn't reflect how hard the first hour was, the Pumas really showed their desire in their defence, but we didn't allow it to frustrate us.
"There is pressure but that is what playing for the All Blacks is all about. I thought we were a lot better tonight."
The Pumas had not played any test rugby for more than a year before they arrived in Australia but will still be disappointed to be held scoreless in a test match against the All Blacks for the first time.
Hooker Dane Coles scored the first try in the corner in the 12th minute and Richie Mo'unga added a penalty soon afterwards to give the All Blacks a 10-0 halftime lead, but the three-times world champions really opened up after the break.
Ardie Savea bulldozed over the line from an attacking lineout and replacement back Will Jordan scored two tries in three minutes off an Argentine error and an intercept before lock Patrick Tuipulotu blew out the score after the hooter.
The Pumas wore black armbands in memory of football great Diego Maradona and Cane laid an All Blacks shirt emblazoned with the name of the Argentine star on the turf before the haka.
There was no sentiment from the New Zealanders after kick-off, however, as they went back to basics with set-piece dominance, hard running and judicious kicking to put sustained pressure on the Pumas.
Argentina made 10 changes to the side that drew with Australia last week which may account for a lack of fluency in some of the combinations and a string of handling errors.
Argentina captain Pablo Matera said: "We weren't clinical. I don't think the changes were the problem. The new guys brought a lot of energy, but there were many mistakes and handling errors from the whole team.
"We will have to watch the game again and do a lot of work this week to make a good game in our last game of the season against Australia."
Published: November 28, 2020 03:52 PM