Scrumhalf Aaron Smith scored twice as the All Blacks beat Argentina 28-13 in a wet and fairly scrappy Rugby Championship match in Hamilton. Victory came at a cost though as captain Richie McCaw picked up a knee injury and will be out for at least three weeks.
McCaw, who equalled Jason Leonard’s record as the most capped forward of all time, had his left knee bent under the pressure of teammate Charlie Faumuina in the 60th minute of the match. The medial ligament damage will keep him out of the crucial clash with the Springboks next weekend.
The All Blacks are hopeful that he’ll be available for the fixture against them in Johannesburg, but it’s more likely to be a case of aiming for the final Bledisloe Cup match against Australia.
“By the end of the week, we’ll have a pretty good idea, so hopefully, maybe, he might get the second South African game,” said coach Steve Hansen, who explained that McCaw won’t require surgery. “Doc’ thinks he will definitely get the third Bledisloe game.”
Other than that, they chalked up another win but it wasn’t the most fluid of performances, with some uncharacteristic errors being forced by not only the weather, but the pressure from a determinded and very physical Argentina side.
“It wasn’t a night for the backs so we won’t reflect too much on those kind of areas. We’ll look at things we can tidy up in our structures around the park,” Hansen added.
While Argentina scored early to the delight of neutrals everywhere, one of the highlights of the game for the home side, and fans around the world no doubt, will have been Kieran Read’s superb around the corner pass for Aaron Smith’s first try.
Smith added to it not long after, before Julian Savea crossed in the second half.
Highlights of the match are below, and you can view McCaw leading the Haka on page two
Richie McCaw leading the Haka in his 119th Test match