Updated at 13.24
THE ALL BLACKS beat Argentina 28-13 at Waikato Stadium this morning in a third-round Rugby Championship match.
Kieran Read drove New Zealand to the hard-fought victory.
Read was pivotal to the All Blacks’ success as he demonstrated his handling skill, vision and patience in creating two tries, in spite of difficult conditions caused by drizzle throughout the game in Hamilton.
The 27-year-old’s first moment of inspiration came when his side were 7-3 down as he slipped a sublime pass behind a defender to put half-back Aaron Smith in at the corner for a try. Then, 13 minutes into the second half when the Pumas had crept back to 18-13 down, he charged down an attempted clearing kick, gathered the ball and started the move that ended with winger Julian Savea crossing for a well-worked try.
However, New Zealand’s victory was marred somewhat by an injury sustained by Richie McCaw, which caused the captain to limp from the field after 59 minutes. Juan Manuel Leguizamon gave the visitors an ideal start when he scored the opening try, but the world champions subsequently dominated the ball and it did not take long for them to hit back. First, returning fly-half Dan Carter became the first man in history to pass 1400 Test points, before Smith touched down twice in quick succession.
Savea then added a third try for New Zealand and while some accurate kicking from Nicolas Sanchez kept Argentina in touch, Carter – and his replacement Beauden Barritt – kept the scoreboard ticking over to make it three wins from three games for the hosts in this year’s tournament.
Scorers New Zealand – Tries: Aaron Smith (2), Julian Savea. Conversions: Dan Carter (2). Penalties: Carter (2). Beauden Barrett Argentina – Try: Juan Manuel Leguizamon. Conversion: Nicolas Sanchez. Penalties: Sanchez (2)
Teams (15-1) All Blacks: Israel Dagg; Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Francis Saili, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Steven Luatua; Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Charlie Faumuina, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Replacements: Dane Coles, Ben Franks, Wyatt Crockett, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau.
Argentina: Juan Martin Hernandez, Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Santiago Fernandez, Horacio Agulla; Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Pablo Matera, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe; Julio Farias Cabello, Manuel Carizza; Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Marcos Ayerza. Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Lobo, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Mariano Galarza, Benjamin Macome, Tomas Cubelli, Felipe Contepomi, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino. Referee: Jerome Garces (FRA)
Meanwhile, South Africa won their first match in Australia in four years and kept the Wallabies win-less in the Rugby Championship with a record 38-12 victory on Saturday.
The Springboks won for the first time in nine visits to Brisbane in 42 years with a four tries-to-nil thrashing to remain unbeaten in the southern hemisphere series along with the All Blacks, who they face in Auckland next weekend.
It was the biggest win by the Springboks in Australia and they totted up more points than their last 32-25 win over the Wallabies in Australia in 2009.
South Africa led 16-6 at halftime but broke the game wide open in the second half with three tries in eight minutes to keep Ewen McKenzie without a win in three Tests as coach of the Wallabies.
Forward Coenie Oosthuizen, skipper Jean de Villiers, fullback Zane Kirchner and winger Willie Le Roux scored tries with Morne Steyn kicking three conversions and four penalties.
The Wallaby defence disintegrated in the second half in the face of a disciplined South African assault and dominant scrum and the home side finished without a try in another deeply disappointing display by the Australians, who have now lost five of their six Tests this year.
It was a triumph for coach Heynecke Meyer, who wildly cheered his team’s tries watching from the coach’s box, after the Springboks back-to-back wins over Argentina to keep the pressure on World Cup champions New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.
Replacement forward Oosthuizen gave the Springboks a flying start when he plunged over for a converted try off the television match official in the sixth minute after a prodigious linekick by Steyn from inside his own half.
But South Africa went a man down when openside flanker Willem Alberts was shown a yellow card for kicking the ball away after he deliberately knocked down Australia’s ball.
Christian Lealiifano kicked the penalty for the Wallabies to trail 7-3 in the eighth minute.
But the Springboks bustled the Wallabies into error with uncompromising defence and Steyn kicked a penalty to widen the gap to 10-3.
The Wallabies had their chances but a lack of composure inside South Africa’s quarter cost them.
Lealiifano landed his second penalty but Steyn kicked two more penalties for the Springboks to lead 16-6 at halftime.
The Wallabies had the Springboks under pressure straight after the resumption but had to settle for Lealiifano penalty to trail by seven points.
The Springboks continued to dominate the scrum and Michael Hooper was sin-binned for a lifting tackle on winger Bryan Habana leaving the Wallabies with 14 men 10 minutes into the second half.
Steyn restored the 10-point advantage with his fourth penalty from the Hooper incident.
Francois Louw was penalised for hitting Adam Ashley-Cooper without the ball and Lealiifano kicked his fourth penalty as the Wallabies struggled to find a way throughout the disciplined South African defence.
The Springboks capitalised after a Habana break and kick ahead with de Villiers surging through a gap to score their second try on the hour and open up a 12-point lead.
It got worse for the Wallabies with two tries in two minutes through Kirchner and Le Roux as the Springboks finished full of running for a great night for South African rugby.
Springboks – Tries: Coenraad Oosthuizen, Jean de Villiers, Willie Le Roux; Conversions: Morne Steyn (3); Penalties: Steyn (4) . Wallabies – Penalties: Christian Lealiifano (4)
Australia - Israel Folau; Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Lealiifano, James O’Connor; Quade Cooper, Will Genia (capt); Ben Mowen, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy; Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper.
South Africa – Zane Kirchner; Willie le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw; Flip van der Merwe, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.