9 Sep 2012

All Blacks overcome impressive Argentina

11:26 am on 9 September 2012

Argentina went down fighting in Saturday night's 21-5 Rugby Championship defeat to New Zealand in Wellington.

The Pumas' ferocious tackling kept the score to just 6-5 at half-time - when there was a lengthy break from a power failure - but the South Americans couldn't kick on, while two late tries saw the All Blacks home.

The two other teams in the competition also played Saturday night, with Australia defeating South Africa 26-19 in Perth.

Aaron Cruden opened the scoring for the All Blacks with his second penalty attempt, before the veteran Pumas prop Rodrigo Roncero crashed over the line for a try in the 12th minute.

Goal kicking was difficult in the gusty conditions and Argentina's conversion attempt failed, allowing the All Blacks to reclaim the lead through another Cruden penalty.

No points were added throughout the rest of a scrappy first half as the Pumas' defence withstood the All Black tactic of quickly clearing the ball from the breakdown.

As the teams emerged to begin the second half the stadium was plunged into darkness, with power cuts caused by strong winds that plagued the capital on Saturday also affecting the rugby.

After 15 minutes the lights came back on and the game resumed.

Cruden added another penalty in the 51st minute followed by another miss from Juan Martin Hernandez.

Midway through the second spell the Argentinean flanker Julio Farias Cabello was sin binned for a deliberate knock-on, but the wind blew Cruden's penalty shot off course.

Finally, in the 65th minute New Zealand managed to penetrate the opposition defence, as veteran centre Conrad Smith drew three defenders to feed the ball to Ma'a Nonu who sent Julian Savea over in the corner.

The pace of the All Black game was starting to take its toll on the Pumas and within 10 minutes Corey Jane scored in the opposite corner.