All Blacks power to Rugby Championship title
A CORY Jane hat-trick in La Plata led New Zealand to a dominant 54-15 win over Argentina yesterday to secure the inaugural Rugby Championship title for the world champions.
Julian Savea added two tries, while Aaron Smith and Ma’a Nonu also scored as the All Blacks overpowered Argentina, who have yet to win in five matches in the new four-nation championship.
The victory gave the defending World Cup champions an unassailable nine-point lead atop the standings with one round of matches to go in the tournament. In the weekend’s other match, South Africa defeated Australia 31-8.
Yesterday’s result was the 15th straight victory for the All Blacks, who have also won 15 of 16 matches against Argentina. The other match was a draw. It was also their most lopsided ever victory against the Pumas, larger than a 36-6 victory in 1991.
New Zealand fell behind 5-0 after an eighth-minute try by Martin Landajo, delighting the 45,000 sellout crowd in the coastal city of La Plata. It didn’t last, as the world champion All Blacks showed their class in tearing Argentina’s defence apart at will.
“It’s a hell of a place to play here and we probably gave them a bit of a start there, conceding the first try, but we showed composure,” captain Richie McCaw said. “It’s easy to get caught up in [the atmosphere] and go a bit quiet. But the boys stuck to it and every opportunity pretty much we got we took.”
Once New Zealand grabbed the lead in the 16th minute with Smith’s try and Dan Carter’s conversion, the match was never close again.
“We were excited [about scoring the first try] but we met a really good team today and I think today we made more mistakes than usual, and every time we did a mistake they made it seven points,” Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe said. “So it was very tough, but there are lessons to be learned.”
Argentina are due to close out the championship next week against Australia in Rosario. New Zealand will finish with a clash against South Africa.
“We set out to win the championship from day one, and to be able to do it so early is a reflection on how well the boys have worked and how well they’ve played,” New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said.
He said he was not surprised Argentina scored first.
“I think that’s what you’re going to get sometimes in an atmosphere like this,” he said. “We were a bit jittery, particularly in the first five or ten minutes.”
It was a disappointing match for the Pumas, who have otherwise been impressive in their first appearance in the premier southern hemisphere tournament.
As soon as New Zealand took the lead, it began to build on it with slick ball handling and better speed than the Pumas.
Carter stretched the lead to 10-5 from a 20th minute penalty as New Zealand began to control possession and pin the Pumas back in their own half.
Jane added a 23rd-minute try with Carter adding the conversion to stretch the lead to 17-5.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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