Rugby: All Blacks pip Pumas to title

New Zealand claimed the inaugural Rugby Championship with a stunning 54-15 win over Argentina in La Plata.

Rugby News: All Blacks Celebrations

It was the performance the side had been threatening throughout the Championship and was too much for the home side's defences to cope with. It was the best effort the All Blacks have achieved in their seven Tests on Argentinian soil surpassing the 36-6 win in 1991.

The outside backs, especially wings Julian Savea and Cory Jane, enjoyed the freedom, scoring five tries between them while fly-half Dan Carter's steadiness kept the pressure on the home side throughout.

Captain Richie McCaw thrived on another challenge, a rare appearance in Argentina, and led the side to show the home town fans why the All Blacks were world champions.

Number eight Kieran Read was again instrumental in support play and running the ball back while there was unrelenting support whenever the All Blacks ran the ball.

Argentina enjoyed a lively start to the game, but the pace the All Blacks played at took its toll.

Half-back Martin Landajo had an outstanding game for the home team while full-back Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino and centre Marcelo Bosch were dangerous runners.

While there was intent in the home side, their defences were less effective in the dry weather conditions and they were unable to produce the quality exhibited in their first game in Wellington.

Showing a much greater willingness to run the ball than in Wellington, Argentina had early reward when scoring the first try of the game after a clean lineout take. Argentina created space for Amorosino to race onto the ball at speed.

He evaded McCaw's cover tackle and raced ahead to be taken by wing Julian Savea. However, the ball was cleared quickly for Landajo to race away to score in the eighth minute.

However, the lead was short-lived as Argentina paid the price for not getting support up the sideline for a clearing kick by Juan Martin Hernandez as the quick throw was taken creating room for wing Cory Jane to take the ball forward on the flank.

The ruck developed and from the base inside centre Ma'a Nonu acting as half-back ran straight up the middle to split the defence and pass to half-back Aaron Smith for the try under the posts in the 15th minute.

Carter showed he was over his calf injury with a stunning break through the midfield soon after and was just stopped when his ankles were clipped but in the resulting play Argentina was penalised and Carter landed the penalty goal.

Back on attack, the All Blacks dropped two players from a lineout to create the close quarter diversion and left wing Jane ran across in support to be tackled on the right.

From the ruck the ball was cleared to Read running onto the ball at full speed. He cut back to the short side and found Jane on the sideline with his pass for the wing to score on his opposite flank.

Hernandez landed a 26th-minute penalty goal to post 100 points in Test matches but from the restart Carter landed his second penalty goal to extend the lead to 20-8

In the 30th minute the All Blacks avoided punishment after an attempted chip kick by flanker Liam Messam was caught by Argentina and moved to the right but the ball spilled loose in a tackle and Savea was able to toe it ahead, kick it again over the line and win the race to the touchdown.

Savea was in again after a classic All Blacks build-up with the ball moved left and right in sweeping moves across the field.

Read was again prominent, along with Nonu, in getting the ball over the advantage line and with quick clearance Carter was able to put the charging Savea over in the corner.

Argentina started the second half with an impressive display of forward power as they took advantage of several penalty opportunities conceded by the All Blacks and finally in the 47th minute wing Gonzalo Comacho burst away from a ruck to score.

But that merely served to boost the All Blacks' appetites. At a penalty conceded by the Pumas, they kicked for the corner then executed their own rolling maul with firstly McCaw taking the ball to the line and then prop Tony Woodcock.

When the ball was released Savea came back on the cut, held his feet and flicked the pass to Jane who scored.

Just to prove their control and dominance the All Blacks put all their substitutes on by the 55th minute and from a lineout straight afterwards, replacement Aaron Cruden ran through a gap, flicked the ball to Nonu and he raced away to score.

The final touch came in the last minute when Jane completed an intercept try to record a hat-trick.

Only one more game remains for the side, against the Springboks in Pretoria, in a week.



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