Argentina produced one of the greatest performances in their rugby history as they defeated New Zealand for the first time ever, upsetting Ian Foster’s men 25-15 in Sydney. Here are our talking points from the Tri Nations clash.
Nicolas Sanchez excellent: Argentinian teams in the past have had issues with goalkickers- a reliable one with the boot is often the difference in tight games. Sanchez was excellent here, scoring all 25 of Argentina’s points and nailing penalties from near the half way line to keep Los Pumas ahead of the All Blacks.
Argentina do not miss a single tackle: In past Rugby Championship games, Argentina have often been able to keep pace with the All Blacks for 50 odd minutes, only to fall away in the last quarter as New Zealand’s superior fitness and quality off the bench turned the game in their favour.
Here though, Los Pumas ensured they didn’t miss a single tackle in the game. With New Zealand struggling to break the line, the All Blacks’ attack looked toothless. Dominating NZ’s tight five and winning the forward exchanges with quality defence has proven to be an effective template against the All Blacks in recent years, and Argentina adopted it perfectly here.
Richie Mo’unga misses touch late in the first half against Argentina: New Zealand are often said to be at their most dangerous in the ten minute period just before and after the interval. They had an excellent opportunity here too just before the break, but Mo’unga missed touch with his penalty, and Argentina escaped. A good kick would’ve set up a maul close to the Los Pumas line, and a try to the All Blacks at that stage could’ve been a killer blow to the Pumas.
Sotutu missed pass to Damian McKenzie: Hoskins Sotutu was excellent off the bench, and one key second half movement had him come off the back of the scrum close to the Pumas line. He attempted to pass to Damian McKenzie, but it ended up going into touch instead. Had that pass been executed, it would’ve been try time for the All Blacks.
It’s small things like this that the likes of Kieran Read and Richie McCaw were excellent at doing, and the lack of execution hurt New Zealand here.
Pablo Matera a warrior for Argentina: Right from his fifth minute talk to Angus Gardner demanding “respect” and his brilliant 74th minute turnover penalty, flanker Matera was a warrior for Los Pumas. The Argentine back three dominated New Zealand and were key to the South Americans’ stunning victory.
As captain, Matera has probably already cemented his legacy in Pumas history- the first in his country to beat the All Blacks.