Julian Savea scored a brace of tries to take his tally to 26 in just 25 matches as the All Blacks beat Argentina 28-9 in Napier on Saturday. Los Pumas were highly competitive but a few key turning points allowed the home side to get a comfortable win.
Refereeing was a source of contention again this weekend, as the first Rugby Championship match of the day featured two key moments that had commentators, fans and pundits questioning how the officials managed to get them so wrong.
The first was early in the match, when powerful wing Savea was held back without the ball, and then later on with the score still close, Argentina’s Leonardo Senatore charged down a kick, regathered and scored the try, but it was disallowed.
“There are things that happen in a game unfortunately,” said captain Agustin Creevy post match.
You have to feel for the Pumas in particular, who were playing well away from home and could have been in with a chane in wet weather conditions if that try was given.
As it was, the All Blacks continued their dominance with a four-try victory and despite a poor kicking performance by Beauden Barrett, who was starting at number 10 for the first time in a Test, they scored through Liam Messam and Aaron Smith, as well as a try to Savea in each half.
“From a scrummaging point of view we should be very proud.” said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. “We sometimes get underestimated at scrum time by others and tonight we scored a try right on half-time from their ball.”
Injuries to flanker Messam and lock Sam Whitelock, and perhaps Barrett’s kicking at goal, will be the only real concerns ahead of next weekend’s Wellington Test against South Africa.