Argentina 12 – 41 New Zealand

Dane Coles, Ardie Savia, Jordy Barrett, Rico Ioane, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Emoni Narava each scored a try as the All Blacks beat Argentina in their opening Rugby Championship encounter in Mendoza; Lucio Sordoni plays poorly as Pumas lose, Agustín Crivi scores

Last Updated: 08/07/23 10:40 PM


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Highlights of the Rugby Championship match between Argentina and New Zealand at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza

Highlights of the Rugby Championship match between Argentina and New Zealand at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza

A blistering start from New Zealand set the stage for a comfortable 41-12 victory over hosts Argentina in the opening match of the Rugby Championship in Mendoza.

The All Blacks ran in three tries in the opening 12 minutes and were 31–0 at half-time as hooker Dane Coles, number eight Ardi Savia, centers Jordi Barrett and Rico Ioane, scrumhalf Aaron Smith, fullback Beauden Barrett and debutant wing Emonie Narava took the lead. Everyone scored.

Argentina – Tries: Sordoni (52), Krivi (80+1). Cons: Boffeli (80+2).

New Zealand – Tries: Coles (5), Savia (9), Jordy Barrett (12), Ioane (29), Smith (39), Beauden Barrett (57), Narawa (76). Cons: Mackenzie (13, 30, 40).

Fly-half Damien McKenzie has made a strong case for inclusion in the Rugby World Cup by playing his first test since 2021. Although he was behind the kicking T, his ability to give space to others as a playmaker was evident and reminded him at times. Qualities of coach Ian Foster, who selected him ahead of Richie Mounga.

New Zealand’s pace and ambition with the ball in hand put Argentina under immense pressure and forced the hosts to concede several penalties. His only rewards were tries to prop Lucio Sordoni and hooker Agustín Creevi.

Beauden Barrett of New Zealand celebrates scoring with teammates during a Rugby Championship match against Los Pumas of Argentina at Malvinas Argentinas Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina on Saturday, July 8, 2023.  (AP Photo/Nicholas A.)

Beauden Barrett of New Zealand celebrates scoring with teammates during a Rugby Championship match against Los Pumas of Argentina at Malvinas Argentinas Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina on Saturday, July 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Nicholas A.)

Ten months after losing to Argentina for the first time in New Zealand, the All Blacks denied the prospect of another upset in the Rugby Championship, scoring three tries in the first 11 minutes and five in the first half to take a 31–0 lead . in half the time.

The All Blacks quelled concerns about their strength with an impressive forward performance. He won penalties in three of the first four scrums and disrupted the Pumas’ lineouts, often through lock Josh Lord in his first Test since 2021. Ethan de Groot made a big impact on the All Blacks’ loose side.

The Pumas came close to scoring early from the opening kick-off when they attempted a clearing kick by fly-half McKenzie, however McKenzie did well to push the ball over the line.

New Zealand’s first try came five minutes later in a sign of things to come. Center Ioane sold a dummy and made a break from inside his own half, combining with new winger Narava. Back-rower Shannon Frizzell threw a pass to lockout Scott Barrett and veteran hooker Coles took the last pass to score.

Back-row Savia scored two minutes later after a strong display from Narava down the right. The All Blacks won a penalty, took a lineout, rolled the ball into the infield and after a close pass to Scott Barrett, Sevilla picked up the ball and brought it down.

New Zealand make comprehensive start to defense of their Rugby Championship title away to Argentina

New Zealand make comprehensive start to defense of their Rugby Championship title away to Argentina

Jordy Barrett, who was part of the starting 15 alongside brothers Scott and Beauden, scored in the 11th minute when Beauden broke the left touch, turning the ball over to his brother.

McKenzie converted one of the three tries and the All Blacks went into a 17–0 lead. Argentina decided to chip away at the few pieces of possession they had in the first half, only once using the ball with hands in which it looked dangerous. Its indiscipline in defense led to a long series of penalties being conceded.

After an interval, the All Blacks tried scoring again. Ioane made a qualifying attempt on a short pass from McKenzie in the 29th, and scrumhalf Smith ran in from a lineout drive to score in the last minute of the half. Pumas’ back-rover Rodrigo Bruni was sin-binned in the same movement and Argentina started the second half with 14 men.

Imoni Narava was among those to try for the All Blacks

Imoni Narava was among those to try for the All Blacks

The crowd of 42,500 rose to their feet for the first time in the 51st when prop Sordoni scored Argentina’s first try, a moment made more poignant by the fact that Sordoni was playing in his first test after a 14-month battle with injuries .

That moment was short lived. After a tussle five minutes later, McKenzie made a long cross-field run that largely negated the backline defense and passed to Beauden Barrett, who scored.

The All Blacks’ defense was tested more regularly in the second half and they responded with some powerful tackles which stopped the proceedings in full flow. He was also quick and decisive in breakdowns.

The All Blacks’ last try went to Narawa for the first time and he may have cemented his place on the right wing. But substitute Pumas Hooker Creevey had the final say and made his record-extending 98th Test appearance with an 82nd try.

rugby championship fixtures and results 2023

  • Round 1: South Africa 43-12 Australia – Saturday, 8 July
  • Round 1: ARGENTINA 12-41 NEW ZEALAND – Saturday, 8 July
  • Round 2: New Zealand v South Africa – Saturday, 15 July – 8.05am Sky Sports Action (GMT)
  • Round 2: Australia v Argentina – Saturday, 15 July – 10.45am Sky Sports Action (GMT)
  • Round 3: Australia v New Zealand – Saturday, 29 July – 10.45am ET (GMT) Sky Sports Action
  • Round 3: South Africa v Argentina – Saturday, 29 July – 4.05pm Sky Sports Action (GMT)

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