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Monday, September 30, 2013

New Zealand in strong position following bonus point win over Argentina

New Zealand are favourites to claim another Rugby Championship title after they beat Argentina 33-15 on Saturday, scoring a four try bonus point in the process. They travel to Ellis Park for what should be a mouthwatering finale this coming weekend.

Argentina produced a strong performance first half, but couldn't quite maintain their intensity and hold out against the silky skills and power of the experienced All Blacks.

It was close at the break with just two points separating the sides, but in the second half the visitors scored three unanswered tries, including the vital bonus point score by Ben Smith at the death.

Smith earlier scored the try of the match after Ma'a Nonu put him through the gap superbly before he stepped the cover with ease, adding to his already impressive try scoring record for the season.

The bonus point try ensured that the All Blacks will be sitting pretty come Saturday, knowing that even a loss could result in them claiming the championship title.

Coach Steve Hansen said that with the Springboks needing to score four tries to win, it could open up the game and leave them falling into the trap of playing too loose against a highly talented outfit.

"They are going to have to play some rugby. That will suit us as much as it will suit them," Hansen said post match, before paying tribute to the ever improving Argentina team.

"It was nothing more than we expected. They are a side that is getting better all the time. They're very, very good up front and they tried to play a bit of rugby today and played it quite well so we had to work for it, and the bonus point right at the end was exactly that, a bonus for us." 

Posted at 2:23 pm | 16 comments

Posted in All Blacks, The Rugby Championship

Viewing 16 comments

hernan September 30, 2013 9:43 pm

Shame the Pumas dropped so much their level at the end but the thing that pisses me off the most is that they didn't really try to run the ball with the backs at all

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Kiwi In Germany September 30, 2013 10:07 pm

Ben Smith is in great form. Loved his run over the top. Was a pretty scrappy game though. A lot of loose 50/50 rugby. Disgraceful that business with the laser light. The stadium officials have got to sort that out. Last year and now again this year...

I also found it interesting the use of the TMO for one of the AB tries it is a little worrying that the ref has to check so much. I am all for getting the right decision and using the TMO when needed, but I seriously hope it won't get to the point where our refs are so under confident in their own abilities that they check through 4-5 phases of rugby at the end of every try.

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DanKnapp October 01, 2013 7:51 pm

They can't win. Look at the stick Poite got on here, a rugby literate site, when he backed his own abilities and got it wrong. I know you're not having a dig, just commenting on the general discussion.

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Facepalm September 30, 2013 10:18 pm

Read was well offside. Hands on by the scrum half is not the same as ball out. Whilst it means nothing in the grand scheme of things, you would've thought the ref could've checked it with the TMO.

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iamaj8 September 30, 2013 10:59 pm

The ref did check....?

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Juan October 01, 2013 10:05 am

Both hands on ball does means go, Read was totally onside. Landajo (scrum-half)was holding the ball way too long on that pass.
Argentina needs to start using more their backs. Forwards did all the job. Everytime backs had the ball they kicked it away.

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Facepalm October 01, 2013 7:50 pm

My mistake thought it was just a replay. He's still offside.

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Pipo October 01, 2013 3:37 am

Can someone clarify this, please? Preferably with reference and links to the IRB Laws.

Watching it live I was convinced Read was offside and was screaming at my TV in disbelief that nobody seemed to notice, not even the Pumas were complaining about that particular supposed offence.

Then, the Argies commentators played in slow motion and it was clear that the scrum-half had the ball in his hands by the time Read started moving forward, even if he didn't pass it. So my conclusion at the end of watching many replays is that Read is on-side and that the Puma scrum-half needs to pass faster... MUCH FASTER. That try seriously p*ssed me off.

Hey, but not to take anything away from the ABs, they are the best team in the world and nobody can't deny that; I just feel that the Pumas made too many crucial mistakes which made the game easier for the ABs, had they not made these rookie mistakes (plenty of them from the usually great Hernandez when not knowing whether to run or kick the ball from the back) they could have put on a much better performance.

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joeythelemur October 01, 2013 8:52 pm

I was looking at the law today myself trying to make sure I understood it right. I think the ref got it right. However, it looked a bit funny because the ref was in the way of the pass (you see him duck), making the scrum half hesitate on the throw. The double-clutch meant Read hesitated a bit too, making him look guilty like an offside player often does.

Looking at the entirety of the game, I didn't think their scrum half was that slow getting the ball out; this one crucial play didn't go that way.

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stroudos October 01, 2013 7:24 am

Good finisher that Been Smuth.

I think it's also great to see how much more of a creative player Nonu is these days - has been for some time of course, but doesn't seem long ago he was getting the same "just a battering ram" criticism that Manu Tuilagi gets now. Personally I think Tuilagi already offers more than he's credited for and hope to see him similarly develop that all-round game.

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Jeri October 01, 2013 9:32 am

Nonu puzzles me, dude under-performs all year in Super Rugby, but then steps up to show his asset as a 12 as an AB.

What do you do with a centre that's not so useful on your provincial team, but incredibly valuable in your national team?

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TotesMcGoates October 01, 2013 12:20 pm

Well, as I understand it, he hasn't been resigned with the Highlanders and none of the other NZ franchises seem to be interested in him; attitude seems to be a factor. Yet he keeps getting picked for the ABs and deservedly so. It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

The situation has a lot of parallels with the O'Connor scenario in Australia.

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DanKnapp October 01, 2013 7:53 pm

You get a like for 'Been Smuth' alone.

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Facepalm October 01, 2013 8:04 pm

Totally agree regarding Tuilagi. The "just a battering ram" comment is an easy, go-to criticism which gets churned out every time Tuilagi makes a big hit and ends up on the highlights reel. The same people who are quick to criticise Tuilagi seem less keen when talking about Roberts.

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Eddie-g October 01, 2013 2:40 pm

@ Jeri - It's a really bizarre situation. Nonu has stunk up three S15 franchises in three seasons, but no question that he still plays great rugby for the All Blacks.

So while on one level it's not a mystery that no S15 franchise is willing to sign him, the big puzzler is that none of these franchises appear to field any centres good enough to challenge him for the All Black jersey.

He's certainly left NZ rugby in a quandary, given their continuing policy of selecting only players who play domestically. Would be very strange if they granted, of all people, Nonu an exception.

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argie October 01, 2013 4:20 pm

rugby dump! you should try to find the highlights of the lineout where FIGALLO had the take (he actually jumped and all) and the highlight of savea´s hand off against giñiazu

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