New Zealand got their Rugby Championship campaign off to a flying start, recording a 41-10 win over Argentina.
Making their best start to their Test season of the modern era against a Tier One nation, the All Blacks were unrelenting in the pressure they applied on Argentina all across the field for a 41-12 win in the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship in Mendoza.
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 10 (Tries: Sordoni, Creevy) New Zealand 41
(Tries: Coles, Savea, J.Barrett, Ioane, Smith, B.Barrett, Narawa
Cons: McKenzie 3)
Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Lucio Cinti, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Lucio Sordoni, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Thomas Gallo. Replacements: 16 Augustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Pedro Rubiolo, 20 Sanriago Grondona, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Matias Orlando.