The game is over and the All Blacks can lock away The Rugby Championship for another year. But hell, it was a scrappy old game with some glimpses of brilliance but plenty for Hansen & Co. to work on ahead of Newlands.
Check out our player ratings below and let us know if you agree.
- Kane Hames (7/10): had his way with Chaparro in the scrum and ultimately forced him from the field. Developing into a strong front row option for the future.
- Dane Coles (8/10): physical and fast performance, dominating the higher-rated Creevy both in the scrum and across the park.
- Nepo Laulala (7/10): a dominant performance in the scrum during his 50 minutes on the field, from which the Argentinian front-row never recovered.
- Luke Romano (8/10): showed how unlucky he is to have Romano and Whitelock playing in the same era. A number of strong runs but equally tough on defence, including a try-saving tackle in the corner in the 49th minute. A huge tackle on Landajo raised some eyebrows but was technically fine and escaped penalty.
- Scott Barrett (7/10): did his job in the thick of a pack and was instrumental in some key turnovers. Developing strongly as a utility option for the first team’s bench.
- Vaea Fifita (5/10): an early penalty conceded three points and he couldn’t quite get his hand under the ball to prevent Leguizamon’s try but otherwise solid and was always going to struggle to reproduce the brilliance from two weeks ago.
- Matt Todd (5/10): busy as always around the field but discipline an issue, with a yellow card for illegal entry in the 38th minute (albeit a tad questionable) slowing the All Blacks’ first-half rampage.
- Kieran Read (8/10): a strong all-round performance at no.8, in the right place to score the AB’s first and second tries, and strong in the lineout throughout. Let the team down with a needless yellow card for a high-shot in the 51st minute and perhaps could have done more to tighten things up when the backline fell apart in the second half, but overall a strong captain’s knock.
- Aaron Smith (8/10): hard to fault what was a strong all-round game, punctuated by a try-saving tackle on Lavanini in the 47th minute. Would have liked to see him get a bit more game time.
- Beauden Barrett (6/10): incredible as always with the ball in hand, as evidenced by his break and out-the-back pass to setup Naholo for his try, and then a patronising between-the-legs scoop to McKenzie which led to Read’s second. But despite the razzle, he was guilty of kicking away far too much attacking ball and again struggled to nail his conversions. An overcooked kick to touch from a penalty in the 67th minute typified this performance which was brilliant in parts but terrible in others.
- Rieko Ioane (6/10): some flashes of brilliance, including a miracle ball to Fifita on attack early in the second half, but otherwise didn’t get many opportunities to shine in a game where the attacking ball went more Naholo’s way.
- Sonny Bill Williams (7/10): played a solid 61 minutes, generally strong without too much flash for a guy who is under constant review. A nice pop-pass to feed the backs for the AB’s first try and some particularly strong defence when Argentina were on attack and dominating possession for 20 minutes in the middle of the game.
- Anton Lienert-Brown (7/10): similar to SBW, was a strong and steady presence in mid-field and played a useful part in some fantastic tries. Solid on defence without being too flashy. A good game all-round.
- Waisake Naholo (8/10): Near-perfect first half followed by an almost-there second. Gave the final draw-and- pass to setup Kieran Read for the first try and scored his own with plenty of work to do after Barrett’s exceptional break. A forward pass to stuff up what would have been another incredible try in the 62nd minute was his only blemish.
- Damian McKenzie (8/10): looked dangerous (and fast!) up the middle and his quick thinking to score the AB’s second try from a quick tap showed maturity beyond his years. He showed silky skills and mega pace down the left flank to set up Read’s second try on the inside but also made an important try-saving tackle out of nowhere in the 46th minute that would have embarrassed critics of his defence.
- Codie Taylor (6/10): showed a couple of exciting glimpses on attack, and solid in the scrum and lineouts without doing anything too incredible.
- Wyatt Crockett (8/10): on in the 51st minute, showed some silky hands and was a rock up-front, absolutely dominating Herrera and sending him to the bin in the 67th minute. Like a fine malbec, this guy doesn’t seem to age.
- Ofa Tu’ungafasi (7/10): on in the 51st minute, continued the AB’s domination at scrum time and looked good around the park. Good signs for the future of All Black forward-play.
- Patrick Tuipulotu (5/10): was solid in the middle of the pack but lacked impact at a time when the All Blacks could have really used some strong forward carries.
- Ardie Savea (6/10): some determined mauling and running towards the end, able to make a dent in the opposition line. Perhaps needed a bit more game time in order to have a real impact.
- TJ Perenara (7/10) on for Smith in the 51st minute, was typically yappy but execution slightly off the mark. Played an integral role in Havili’s try on full-time and was otherwise just fine.
- Ngani Laumape replaced SBW in the 62 minute and made some big impact plays. Looked strong as an individual ball-carrier but was in the middle of a backline that completely lost its way in the last 20 minutes of the game.
- David Havili (7/10) made his debut in the 72nd minute and took every opportunity, including a scintillating break from an aimless Argentina kick, which almost resulted in points, followed up with a fast, straight run off set piece to score unopposed in the last minute. Hard to rate more than a 7 with only 8 minutes on the park!
- Lucas Noguera Paz (5/10): made some decent carries during his 54 minutes but fell victim to a dominant All Blacks scrum, creating opportunities for the first-half blitz.
- Agustin Creevy (7/10): typically passionate, solid and ever-present, but out-scrummaged by Dane Coles and Kane Hames, as pointed out by the referee (!!) in the 40th minute. Lifted the team during the middle period of the game and was noticeably frustrated at being subbed with 20 minutes to play. Creevy is the class in this Argentina team but sadly not enough to lift the other fourteen players.
- Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (5/10) subbed after three minutes in the second half after being dominated at scrum-time. Wouldn’t even make the All Blacks’ bench.
- Guido Petti Pagadizaval (5/10) was generally busy and made plenty of tackles but also conceded crucial penalties which halted his team’s momentum.
- Tomas Lavanini: (6/10): a questionable yellow card for a reckless tackle at a 22-3 down was never going to help his team’s cause, but was otherwise solid in the pack and was integral in driving his team’s turnaround before being subbed early in the second half.
- Pablo Matera (6/10) another with a high workrate and some decent metres up the field, also instrumental in leading the turnaround late in the first half and early in the second.
- Tomas Lezana (7/10) the best in an up-and-down Pumas pack today, making good yards and playing an integral role in Leguizamon’s second-half try.
- Juan Manuel Leguizamon (7/10) one of the few effectual players in an otherwise average Pumas side, strong in the lineout and hard on defence. Rewarded with a try in the 54th after some strong ruck play.
- Tomas Cubelli: subbed for a concussion test in the 33rd minute
- Nicolas Sanchez: (6/10): had a steady kicking game and made some small breaks in attack, but ultimately suffered at the back of a static forward pack.
- Emiliano Boffelli (3/10): returned a few balls and made some metres but was generally missing, albeit without really getting an opportunities. Didn’t exactly go searching for action.
- Jeronimo De La Fuente (6/10): some darting runs through the middle and strong one-on-one against SBW, but ultimately a single-minded defence that left gaps either side. Lifted his game in the second half and finished as one of the better backs on the field.
- Matias Orlando (4/10) lifted his workrate and commitment after an average first 30 minutes but was never close to Lienert-Brown or Laumape.
- Matias Moroni (4/10) didn’t see a lot of ball but went searching and often found himself at the back of the Argentina maul.
- Joaquin Tuculet: (4/10) broke a few tackles and gained some metres, but was another who didn’t see much action and could have made himself busier.
- Julian Montoya: (5/10): had a fairly quiet 20 minutes on the field and barely registered with the statisticians, but was busy in the deep during a period where Argentina generally looked good and made some important tackles in the second half.
- Santiago Garcia Botta (5/10): Solid in general play but failed to make much impact in his 26 minutes on the field as Los Pumas were dominated by the All Black scrum.
- Ramiro Herrera (3/10) unable to arrest the scrum woes in the face of a powerful Wyatt Crockett and destroyed any chance of an Argentina comeback when he was yellow-carded mid-way through the second half.
- Marcos Kremer (6/10) on for Lavanini in the 51st minute and placed pressure on the ABs lineout, including a good steal in the 73rd minute.
- Javier Ortega Desio (6/10) a dominating figure during his 30 minutes on the field and integral in Argentina’s second-half resurgence.
- Martin Landajo (8/10): wins kudos for becoming Argentina’s most capped halfback after coming on in the 33rd minute. Despite being destroyed by Romano in a huge tackle, he added composure to a team that was facing decimation at half time. It was certainly no coincidence that Argentina’s performance lifted from the moment he ran on.
- Juan Martin Hernandez (4/10): an average performance, punctuated by far too much aimless kicking during a period when Argentina were playing at more than parity and should have kept ball in hand.
- Santiago Cordero (5/10): a brave tackle on Fifita in the 64th minute followed by a brilliant kick that turned everyone around and was unlucky to roll out before he could get there. Otherwise a pretty quiet 23 minutes as forwards and errors dominated the run of play.
Jaco Peyper (7/10): Controlled the game and communicated well. A generally consistent performance without much to complain about, but negatively impacted the game with overly-zealous yellow cards to Lavanini and Todd in the first half.
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