If there was ever a team in need of a big win, it was New Zealand. Third in the Rugby Championship, and humbled by Argentina, they went into today’s game with a heap of pressure.
However, they responded to their critics in the best way possible, a 53-3 win over Los Pumas at home.
The All Blacks dominated the game from minute one, and resembled everything that a New Zealand international team has always been about. They were accurate, physical and suffocated their opponents throughout the 80 minutes.
A total of seven tries were scored by the free flowing kiwis (one of which is the belter seen below), whereas Argentina failed to score one.
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) September 3, 2022
Surprisingly, not many people saw this result coming, but playing New Zealand of the back of poor results is perhaps one of the scariest prospects in world rugby. A wounded animal is often the most dangerous.
If you wanted an idea of how the game was played, New Zealand had 55% possession, and up until the 70th minute had only made TWO handling errors. That type of accuracy and ruthlessness is the All Blacks DNA, which until now had drifted from the team slightly.
Winning by 50 points is a huge result in any case but you cannot help but feel as though this was a statement from New Zealand – reminding the world of rugby who they are, and to write them off at your peril.
In terms of Argentina, very much a day to forget. Before the match they were being tipped by some as the ‘favourites’ and many thought this Puma’s side would be a force to be reckoned with come the World Cup. However now they need to dust themselves down and prepare to play the World Champions South Africa, on the back of a result which would have sent them down to earth with a thud.
Their game next week will tell the rugby community more about Argentina than any of the previous games this tournament as they will have to come back mentally from today’s result.
It is important to remember that this was only one game, but it is hard to not let it change the picture in Southern Hemisphere rugby. I also think a certain Ian Foster will sleep a bit better tonight than in the last few weeks.
A near perfect performance from New Zealand, but we will see next week if they are truly back.