The All Blacks bounced back to a 38-0 win over the Pumas in Newcastle, exacting revenge for their loss two weeks ago at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney.
After a slow start and some misfires, the All Blacks raced away in the second half on the back of two tries in two minutes to substitute Will Jordan, one of a handful of relative newcomers who impressed on the night.
Aside from Jordan’s cameo, blindside flanker Akira Ioane put in a magnificent performance in what was his second start after his shortened debut in Brisbane against the Wallabies three weeks ago. Ioane was replaced by Shannon Frizell for the first test against the Pumas who was outplayed by Marcos Kremer and his opposite Pablo Matera in the loss.
This fan wrote ‘Last test match, Shannon Frizell can’t handle Pablo Matera, this time around I think Akira Ioane can handle Pablo Matera.’
Last test match, Shannon Frizell tak boleh handle Pablo Matera. This time around aku rasa Akira Ioane boleh handle Pablo Matera
— Luke (@luqmanabdsalim) November 26, 2020
Ioane carried strongly, punching through Pumas defenders to clock up the most metres of any All Blacks forward on the night while completing nine of 10 tackles and winning two turnovers.
The Blues loose forward came up with two critical steals in the tackle, ripping away possession in contact from the Pumas as they were pressing into All Blacks territory.
His performance didn’t go without notice online, with fans calling his emergence as a ‘positive for the Foster regime’ after they have ‘finally found their number 6 since Jerome Kaino’.
A positive from the Foster regime so far is the emergence of Akira Ioane from relative obscurity #ARGvNZL
— James Rodbourn (@jrodbourn) November 28, 2020
#ARGvNZL Akira Ioane putting in a strong shift at 6. Carrying out core role well & coming up with some positive defense
— Ross Bishop (@roscobigfulla) November 28, 2020
Excellent shift from Akira Ioane tonight – tough, combative, industrious & disciplined ?? #NZLvARG
— Nigel Yalden ??? (@NigelYalden) November 28, 2020
— Isis Novnak (@IsisNovnak) November 28, 2020
Sam Cane is being manhandled whilst Akira Ioane is showing his physicality and having a great game.
— Mana Rugby (@mana_rugby) November 28, 2020
Akira Ioane was immense tonight. What a comeback after a few years in the wilderness. He’s much fitter, improved work rate and playing a little tighter. #NZLvARG
— Lani Refiti (@LaniRefiti) November 28, 2020
Akira Ioane is the whole truth and nothin but the truth #NZLvARG
— Champ Ch33ze?? (@mexxdidit) November 28, 2020
Akira Ioane playing really well again. Mo’Unga looking sharp too #ARGvNZL
— Ben (@BencerasaIe) November 28, 2020
Akira Ioane so far having his best game for NZ of his career #NZLvARG
— 3ku1111 (@3ku1111) November 28, 2020
Akira Ioane has had some game today. #ARGvNZL
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) November 28, 2020
Top work @AllBlacks
Our No 6, Akira Ioane, epitomised our game
Simple things done well
Dominated the Lineout
Monster in the tackle
Akira could now own that jersey with performances like his last 2 matches@BluesRugbyTeam
— Andy Doherty (@Aranui_Boy) November 28, 2020
Ioane best blindside performance for the AB’s this season, Cane is a grafter and never far from the ball or action. Scrummaging masterclass. Must be said Argentina handling was poor but that can partly be attributed to AB defence #goodsolidwin #AllBlacks
— Graeme Peacock (@graemepeacock05) November 28, 2020
Personally thought both Akira Ioane and Nepo Laulala made the world of difference tonight.
Ioane put in a excellent grafting performance at blindside, while Laulala not only dominated the scrum, but was very active around the park.#TriNations2020
— Dylan Jack (@dylanmattjack) November 28, 2020
After the win, All Blacks head coach Ian Foster singled out Ioane for his efforts saying it showed that he ‘wants to be here’.
“Akira should be really proud of his game,” he said.
“It was his second start, but his first full game (he played 65 minutes). I thought he showed he really wants to be here.
Foster said it had been a difficult year for everyone after a tough succession of test matches but thought that his side is developing.
“A fortnight ago we’d just played our fifth test in six weeks and it was tough. You saw Argentina play their third test in three weeks and it’s tough. There’s been a lot of challenges for all the teams.
“For us there will still be a few niggly hurt moments, particularly the loss to Argentina, but at least we had a chance to fix it; to show that we can play, that this group is developing. We’ve got a bit more to go, we’re clear about that, but it’s a better way to finish.”
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