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Monday, October 01, 2012

All Blacks win the Rugby Championship with Argentina thumping

The All Blacks secured the Rugby Championship title with a 54-15 rout of Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday. The hosts scored first, but it was one way traffic after that as the World Champions silenced the crowd with some clinical finishing.

Few expected such an emphatic result but once the All Blacks kicked into gear they couldn't be contained as gaps opened up and they exploited the overlaps with some slick handling.

The visitors seemed to be shaken into action after Argentina had scored a lovely try early on. What followed was a hiding the likes of which we haven't seen this year, as for the first time in the inaugral tournament, Argentina looked off the pace.

"We were a bit jittery in the first five, ten minutes," coach Steve Hansen said. "Once we controlled our composure we came straight back into the game and took control of it."

Cory Jane picked up a hat-trick of tries while Julian Savea crossed twice, and Ma'a Nonu and Aaron Smith scored a try each. New Zealand now lead the tournament with 21 points after their five straight victories. They meet the Springboks in Soweto next weekend, but the deficit is such that they cannot be beaten, so were awarded the Rugby Championship trophy in Buenos Aires.

"I don't think too many teams have gone unbeaten previously. If we could win the inaugural championship and do that next week it would be a massive effort from us," said Kieran Read.

The All Blacks have now win 15 consecutive Tests and need just four more wins to break the current world record, held by Lithuania. The Springboks will be aiming to do the record holders a favour by preventing that in front of a massive crowd in Soweto next weekend.

"Playing South Africa in South Africa is obviously tough, especially when they're coming off a big win. They'll be confident. They've made some changes to their team, and as a result of that they've changed the way they play slightly which has improved them," said Hansen.

Posted at 10:19 am | 26 comments

Viewing 26 comments

Guy October 01, 2012 11:53 am

The Argentinians lost by a rather large margin. That first try however does show what they are capable of. And I reckon they will only get better.

Absolutely lovely rugby by the All Blacks too, BTW. Must have been an entertaining match with so many tries by the backs.

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Colombes October 01, 2012 11:55 am

All Blacks at their best!
Direct runs, perfect-timed offloads and efficient possession
Can't see which could actually beat them for the moment.
Which team do they meet for autumn tour?

On Argentina, they were combattive but overwhelmed by a far better side. no shame.
They've already demonstrated that their 4N presence is deserved.

ps: on argentinan crowd who has been "silenced" by all blacks, i think that their reaction at the end of the match just show the contrary. they were happy of the show despite the defeat ;)

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stroudos October 01, 2012 12:20 pm

Which team do they meet for autumn tour?

Scotland, Italy, Wales, England.
On this form, all four will be lambs to the slaughter......


I was a bit disappointed by the "performance" of the crowd, I thought they would be a massive factor in this game, maybe even get under the All Blacks' skins, but they seemed to drop their heads as soon as NZ scored. The players didn't though and I think that's partly why they got such a good ovation at the end; crowd also showing its general appreciation of some really good rugby (by both teams in my opinion).

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stroudos October 01, 2012 12:11 pm

OK, I'm in danger of myself look stupid with this, but I watched the whole game live and I really think Argentina played significantly better rugby than the scoreline suggests.

They started really well but unfortunately couldn't live with the sheer quality of New Zealand - I reckon most teams in the world would have lost to this team by a similar margin.

But the Argies played with great endeavour, their forwards punched big holes in the ABs defence, their backs linked up really fluidly, there were some decent offloads and they kept the ball alive very well - most of the time. Hernandez distributed brilliantly and did some nice tactical kicking - could have run it more, as Justin Marshall pointed out in commentary he allowed NZ a lot of time to organise their defence because they pretty much knew he was going to pass so they could line up the Argy centres. They also made some tremendous hits in defence, a few Kiwis were smashed backwards on a number of occasions.

The main problem they had was that despite all their hard work they made quite a few unforced errors and every single one of those was ruthlessly punished, usually by a try to NZ. Prime example Savea's "footballer's try" - he took it brilliantly no doubt, but it came as Camacho spilt the ball at the end of a good few phases of decent possession.

And that, in a nutshell, is the biggest factor contributing to New Zealand's current awesomeness - if you make a mistake they WILL score. They have just got so good at converting every single opportunity.

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Juggernauter October 01, 2012 12:36 pm

"And that, in a nutshell, is the biggest factor contributing to New Zealand's current awesomeness - if you make a mistake they WILL score. They have just got so good at converting every single opportunity."

That, my friend, could be the more spot on comment I've read in here. Sums the ABs game up.

I think Argentina's game plan right now relies way too heavily on their superb defence. They need to offerm ore in attack in order to trouble teams like the All Blacks, but inly time will tell. There's no denying that their inclusion has been a breath of fresh air into the old and repetitive Tri Nations.

I hope next week's game in Rosario lives up to the expectation. I'll be in the stadium so let's hope it's enjoyable!

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Cripo October 01, 2012 2:31 pm

See you in the Stadium then!! :)

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stroudos October 01, 2012 4:33 pm

Nice one, cheers Juggernauter.

Enjoy the game! Judging from this performance, the number of Aussies missing with injury and home advantage (Rosario's more traditional rugby country too isn't it?), I reckon it will be an Argentina win by 10-15 points.....

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Pretzel October 01, 2012 8:57 pm

Got to agree with you and Juggernauter here. AB's can have a ropey game and still come out with a win because of the way they capitalise on opportunities gifted to them by the opposition team.

Time and time again I have seen a team look better on the day, making hard impacts at rucks, and running hard, but not making too much head way, and all of a sudden an error occurs and NZ scores.

I also have to completely agree with your points down below with regard to the statistics and the last point is very well written. It is something which is constantly difficult to bring up by the sheer nature of the fact that it is, technically speaking, cheating, and no one likes their team being called cheaters. But it is true that ALL teams do this, however I truly believe NZ have it perfectly set out, they know what to do and when to do it.

I've watched other nations in the past get rattled and then some clumsy prop attempts to slow the ball down and is so blindly obvious the referee is almost shocked by the action. NZ on the other hand are perhaps well rehearsed in knowing how to keep cool under pressure, they don't require a clumsy oaf to make a panicked blind decision. It is almost as if the game is already mapped out and played and they have practised exactly what to do and when to do it, like it's choreographed... They don't own a time machine do they?

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valar October 01, 2012 3:12 pm

I believe the strategy of the argies was to play more offensively and score more just like Graham Henry suggested , which they did, yet the defensive part lacked reflected by the seven tries of the AB. ANOTHER HUGE FACTOR was Dan Carter, he made the game very unconfortable for the Argies. NZ was superb, definately their best performance.

I hope my dear Pumas can get a win against Australia, would be a great way for Roncero to Retire.

Congratulations to NZ once again, fun match.

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Guy October 01, 2012 9:14 pm

Whatever happens against the Australians, you've got every reason to be very, very proud of your Pumas! I mean that sincerely. They did do their country proud and added a lot of entertainment to the tournament this year.

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valar October 03, 2012 9:41 pm

Thanks Guy! Im glad The Pumas aren't seen as a negative factor for this Championship. Hopefully they will get better and better. Maybe even Top 5! Time will tell.

Valar

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Pretzel October 04, 2012 7:05 pm

Far from it, they have really brought some extra spice into the competition, and they have proved a number of people wrong, myself included. I sincerely felt they were going to struggle hard to start with. I felt that they were going to be thumped in most matches, but beaten in ALL in this tournament and perhaps the next 1 or 2 as well, but only due to the ability of the teams they would encounter and not because they are a bad team (they are not) but they have played some brilliant rugby and looked more dangerous than some teams! I hope they carry this on to next year and don't dip in their performances.

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Ottawa Rugger October 01, 2012 3:27 pm

Don't quote me on this, but I think Argentina statistically held a possession and territorial advantage throughout the match. Like mentioned above, it was more the fact that NZ were able to capitalise on uncharacteristic errors that they were able to run away with it.

On an unrelated note, Lithuania holds the world record for consecutive wins? How awesome is that! Go Lithuania!

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stroudos October 01, 2012 4:27 pm

According to espnscrum.com, you are quite correct Sir:
Possession: 53%/47% (in favour of Argentina)
Territory: 59%/41%

http://www.espnscrum.com/the-rugby-championship/rugby/match/153854.html

The stats are quite interesting actually - very similar on most measures for both teams, which backs up my feeling that the game itself was more evenly matched than the scoreline indicates.

The main differences are:
- NZ kicked nearly twice as much, (confirming my view that Arg were playing with a good level of ambition and creativity).
- NZ made nearly twice as many tackles, (for me the main difference between the teams seemed to be how NZ took advantage of any mistakes - this stat indicates they were happy to patiently soak up the Argie attack and be ready to pounce on any mistakes.
- Arg conceded double the number of turnovers, (many times it looked as though they were putting together some really good possession only to seemingly run out of ideas at around phase 5-6 and get turned over).
- NZ conceded a lot more penalties, (I think this is really significant. NZ thrive on snuffing out their oppos' attacking ball and they don't tend to care if they do it legally or not they give away small penalties, not too many in their own 22 and nothing too blatant so refs don't seem to bother about the frequency of their infringements).

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stroudos October 01, 2012 4:30 pm

Last point above is not meant as a dig or to imply NZ are cheating bastards. It's smart rugby in my opinion.

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Benny October 01, 2012 9:05 pm

Usually we accused of blatant cheating and the ref not doing anything so if the penalty count is in the opposition's favour, don't worry, we won't view it as a dig :)

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paimoe October 01, 2012 10:14 pm

On the last point, I've been thinking. A lot of the time if NZ concedes a penalty, or too many and get a yellow, nothing happens. There's 3 points, people may get tired, but often the opposition still doesn't score. I know they don't go out there to kill but if they can survive ten mins with one man down, they may as well go all out and toe the line of the laws. Concede a penalty? Who cares, Dagg breaks and sets up Jane for the try anyway.

When other teams lose a man, they generally concede at least a try too. But with NZ, there's no real need to worry - most of the time unless its a close game or against top opposition then it doesn't matter. Might as well play as hard as possible. Also probably why other teams/fans complain about them "repeatedly infringing".

Case in point, the 2nd Irish test this year (Dagg yellow in 70th, yet we were the next to score and win), and the 3rd Lions test from '05 (IIRC, Umaga got a yellow, Lions got 3pts, we scored two tries while he was out).

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stroudos October 02, 2012 5:49 am

Well yes I suppose it would be nice if they didn't commit the cheeky infringements, but I really think this is a crucial part of the NZ game. They get a big psychological boost from breaking up the opposition's attacking ball. If the oppo plays well but just can't get their side of the scoreboard ticking over regularly they seem to lose confidence. That's when the unforced errors start to creep in and NZ capitalise.

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Benny October 01, 2012 9:09 pm

I read that the Argentinian stadium announcer asked the crowd respect the AB kickers and not boo them. It seemed to work. I hope NZ follows suit. I get embarrassed by the booing. I don't think it's malicious, just "good-natured ribbing" but people need be told it's poor form. Not to mention I notice more and more people booing the local team in NZ. That i do not understand unless we have so many travelling fans giving as good as they get

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Isaac October 01, 2012 10:19 pm

I reckon i would find kicking in silence too unnerving! I would take the boo's and whistling anyday lol

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Pretzel October 02, 2012 1:20 am

I think heard of an interview where Jonny Wilkinson said he imagines the posts are a laughing mouth when all the crowd are noisy and jeering and kicking the ball in between silences that mouth. I think he also went on to say something like, he finds it much harder when the crowd is silent...

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Ottawa Rugger October 02, 2012 2:02 pm

I completely agree. Judging by the ovation at the end of the game, the crowd was indeed rather respectful. World-class in my opinion, I'm starting to like Argentine rugby fans as much as I like Argentine rugby players :)

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Kettlerugby October 02, 2012 2:04 am

SBW gone...ah no worries, stick Nonu in...class

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Seba Brunato October 02, 2012 4:41 am

I just wanna watch again that HUGE tackle on Mcaw.

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iamaj8 October 02, 2012 11:39 am

"He's got the best fend I believe in the game"

Cory Jane? Are you sure? A strong, sharp and dangerous player no doubt, but that's a bold opinion right there.

Otherwise another extremely impressive display by the AB's

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Danny October 04, 2012 2:31 am

Im Argentinian. I`ve read the commi ents above and i gladdly can say i agree with most points mentioned and that i feel so proud of the Pumas. The margin in points against NZ does not speak for the match itself. The Pumas had a very good start with Landajo´s try after a good line combined with an perfectly executed play held by Hernandez. concluding with Amorosino´s run delivering in Landajo. NZ well deserved the victory because of their excelent game, their ability of capitalising in every opportunity and the fact that they are the best team. Pumas last 3 games were amazing ways of observing how they´ve got to a very near level as SA and Australia (AMAZING TEAMS). I hope we get the win now!! Would be a great way of proving the Argentinian people who dont understand much about rugby and think that as Pumas havent win yet, that their shit and we´re being embarassed. Also, here in Argentina you can see how good the 4N has done tu us in a cultural way (having NZ play in La Plata and previously Aus and SA). Lots of ads so people get to know the Pumas (The nº 1 sport of people here is football).


Go Pumas!! Love to see some hits!

Hey to everyone!!

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