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Monday Sep 30, 2013

New Zealand in strong position following bonus point win over Argentina

New Zealand in strong position following bonus point win over Argentina
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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.” 

12 Comments

  • joeythelemur
    9:52 PM 01/10/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    9:04 PM 01/10/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:53 PM 01/10/2013

    You get a like for 'Been Smuth' alone.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:51 PM 01/10/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    8:50 PM 01/10/2013

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

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    3:40 PM 01/10/2013

    @ 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.

    Reply
  • totesmcgoates
    1:20 PM 01/10/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • jeri
    10:32 AM 01/10/2013

    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?

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:24 AM 01/10/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • iamaj8
    11:59 PM 30/09/2013

    The ref did check....?

    Reply
  • facepalm
    11:18 PM 30/09/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • 11:07 PM 30/09/2013

    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.

    Reply


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