New Zealand had to be as composed as ever to hold off a determined challenge from Argentina at Wembley. The World Champions were under immense pressure, but as seems to always be the case, held their nerve to claim a hard-fought 26-16 victory.
A mammoth crowd of 89 019, a world record for a RWC match, witnessed both Richie McCaw and Conrad Smith being sinbinned by referee Wayne Barnes as Argentina had their tails up and looked on track for perhaps another upset.
But the introduction of Sam Cane and Beauden Barrett made a difference, and New Zealand got ten points ahead and it stayed that way until the final whistle.
“It took us a while to settle into it, but I thought that second half was a lot more clinical,” said McCaw, who was earlier yellow carded for tripping a Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.
“We perhaps didn’t get the points we could have got, but we perhaps had a bit of control.”
They missed out on a bonus point, but Argentina was their biggest traditional challenge in Pool C. As we all now know though, this world cup is sure to throw up a few more upsets, and the AB’s will be all too aware of that when they face a fired up Namibian side on Thursday.
Los Pumas had a huge amount of support, including some locals who no doubt backed the underdog. Tomas Cubelli said post match that with all the Argentina supporters in the crowd, as one stage he thought he was back in Buenos Aires.
View the post match interviews with both (booed) McCaw and Cubelli here