All Blacks coach Ian Foster has been left searching for answers after the All Blacks’ first-ever defeat to the hands of Argentina.
In the 30th match between the two sides, the Pumas dominated proceedings from start to finish, with a 25-15 final score line arguably flattering the All Blacks.
After the match, which was the Pumas’ first test since October last year, Foster said there were a number of factors in the defeat.
“We’re hurting greatly right now,” Foster said. “The first 40 minutes they played with all the passion that we were expecting but they were also accurate. We were ill-disciplined again and that’s disappointing.
“For a country that hasn’t played all year, they had a big cause to play for and you could see that. They turned a perceived disadvantage into an advantage, they were rested. This is an historic day for them and as much as we’re hurting, their fans will have smiles on their faces.”
After dropping last weekend’s clash against the Wallabies, the loss to the Pumas saw the All Blacks drop back-to-back tests for the first time since 2011. It’s only the fifth time the All Blacks have lost back-to-back tests since the turn of the century.
“It’s the second week in a row that we haven’t shown good composure when things weren’t going our way. We got rattled again and that’s something we will have to work on,” Foster said.
All Blacks captain Sam Cane said he was extremely disappointed, and gave “full credit” to Argentina. Like Foster, he put the loss down to “discipline issues” and “silly frustration penalties in the first half”.
“The lesson is in test match rugby you’ve got to turn up with the right intent, the right attitude every single weekend, or you get it handed to you,” Cane said.
“They were good tonight and we weren’t good enough. Their defence was outstanding.”
While the All Blacks were left desolate by the result, the Argentinians were understandably jubilant – with players dancing and some shedding tears after the final whistle blew.
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Nicolas Sanchez, who scored all of Argentina’s points, said the Pumas always believed they could win the game. However, he said it was not Argentina’s greatest rugby moment – that accolade belonged to their third place in the 2007 World Cup, when they beat France for the bronze medal.
“Before we arrived at the stadium we said ‘today is the day’,” he said.
“We are so happy – a win against the All Blacks is great for us.”
Argentinian coach Mario Ledesma – who played 84 tests for the Pumas – choked on tears as he tried to describe what the win meant.
“We’ve been through hell,” he said, in obvious reference to his team having been hit by Covid-19, and also being starved of rugby.
“After everything that has happened this year…if I told you what it meant I wouldn’t be able to talk.”
Ledesma said that through the tough year, his players “just kept ticking, making efforts, and staying positive.”
“It’s unreal, unreal after everything that has happened,” Ledesma said. “I’m just so proud of them, it’s incredible.”
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