The All Blacks have beaten the Argentina Pumas 39-18 in the opening Rugby Championship match in Christchurch. The All Blacks were set on redemption following a patchy performance in Manu Samoa a week ago and scored a four try bonus point early in the second half. This was Argentina's first game of the year, and it took them sixty minutes to get into this game.
The All Blacks offloading game caused damage with the likes of Kieran Read, Sonny Bill Williams and Ma'a Nonu lethal on attack. They were hungry with aggressive defence causing problems for the visitors, while the All Blacks took the Pumas on at scrum time and breakdowns disrupting their ball, especially putting pressure on the Pumas deep in their own territory. The Pumas also struggled for possession at the restarts too.
Richie McCaw scored a well taken first half try from a lineout, while the tired Pumas conceded tries just before and after halftime to Ma'a Nonu and Charles Piutau. The All Blacks sealed the game with an opportunistic try to Kieran Read to put the game beyond doubt barely into the second half and secure a bonus point.
The All Blacks were more finely tuned and played the game at a fast pace. There was less aimless kicking from both teams.
Argentina came back briefly in the second half scoring two well taken tries from lineout driving mauls with captain Agustin Creevy scoring both before being surprisingly substituted with the Pumas bringing the score back from 32-6 to 32-18. The All Blacks will need to work on their defence at lineouts.
Both teams went to their bench relatively early with the result no longer in doubt,
The All Blacks scored a late try to debutant hooker Codie Taylor to restore the margin.
It was a much improved performance from the All Blacks, with better decision making with most players improving from their performances against Manu Samoa. The offloading and passing was better timed, while there was less aimless kicking. The All Blacks were great in the scrums and breakdowns and had aggressive defence in Argentina's territory which put pressure on the visitors. Their lineout drive defence must improve though, conceding two tries. It was a well taken win for the All Blacks with the result never really looking in doubt.
Dan Carter and Richie McCaw both played well on their home turf for the last time.