This will go down as one the most courageous victories in Wallabies history.
Here’s our report card from the battle of Brisbane.
Powerful bench: With the Springboks leading 18-17 at half time and holding the physical upper-hand, the introduction of some youthful power from Wallabies replacements Folau Faingaa and Taniela Tupou turned the game Australia’s way. Tupou especially made a huge difference at scrum-time with Australia’s pack winning some big scrums in the closing stages.
Siya Kolisi: The Springbok captain was an inspiration for the tourists and the most dangerous runner on the park. He made a game-high 33 metres from eight runs, with one clean break, seven defenders beaten and even one offload. Kolisi was constantly lurking on the fringes waiting for that half gap to exploit. Defensively he also did a job with seven tackles made and none missed.
Backline cohesion: With such a patchwork Wallabies side, plus three late changes, there was always going to be a settling-in period but with a week to practice the backs should have had more fluidity. Kurtley Beale played a lot more direct than the man he replaced (Bernard Foley) usually does and with that knowledge Reece Hodge, Matt Toomua and Marika Koroibete should have been camped on his shoulder to exploit any opening.
Springboks mistakes: If the loss to Argentina in Mendoza was embarrassing, it’s hard to imagine how South African coach Rassie Erasmus will describe this one. The Boks were totally in control in the first half and dominated overall possession (56 per cent) and territory (60 per cent). A combination of poor attacking (11 handling errors to just four from the Wallabies) and defensive mistakes allowed the Wallabies to snatch it.
2 mins: Wallabies start brightly. A good break from Lukhan Tui down the left sets up a ruck just metres out from the Boks’ line. Australia stay patient and Michael Hooper dives over for the opening try.
15 mins: Too easy for the Boks. They set up a lineout close to the Wallabies line, then go for the rolling maul and stroll over. Bongi Mbonambi comes up with the five-pointer.
29 mins: Now it’s the Boks’ turn to attack close to the Wallabies line. South Africa stay patient and after the forwards suck in the defenders Faf de Klerk goes wide with a pinpoint pass to Makazole Mapimpi, who dives over.
33 mins: Madness from the Boks. A lineout close to their line and Mbonambi goes for the long throw. It skids away from Kolisi on the slippery Brisbane turf and straight into the arms of Matt Toomua who collects and slides under the posts.
39 mins: Wallabies have a defensive scrum five metres out but the Boks turn on the power and win a penalty, which Elton Jantjies lands. Important points just before half-time.
44 mins: Will Genia breaks and sets up play on the Boks’ line. Jack Maddocks is stopped inches short and the ball comes the other way to Rob Simmons who knocks on. Big chance missed for Wallabies.
48 mins: Another scrum five metres out and the Wallabies throw everything at the South African line but somehow the Boks hold on. Eben Etzebeth takes an intercept to clear the danger.
54 mins: A Toomua penalty goal puts the Wallabies in front but three points are scant reward for 88 per cent possession since half time.
61 mins: The Wallabies time to defend on their own line and the Boks look set to score but Elton Jantjies grubbers it through and it’s too long – the ball dribbles into touch.
66 mins: Incorrect call on Folau Fainga’a for a crooked throw – his second in a row. But from the resulting scrum the Wallabies win a penalty as Tupou dominates. Toomua nicks another three points.
77 mins: Francois Louw looks like he’s scored for the Boks but it’s called back for a tiny knock-on in the lead up by the TMO. Wallabies clinging to their lead.
80+ mins: It comes down to the last scrum five metres out, right in front of the Wallabies’ posts. The Boks go to the right and De Klerk’s pass is intercepted by Foley. Beale boots it into touch. Wallabies celebrate a heroic victory.
TACTICAL TURNING POINTS
The Springboks were confident that they were more powerful upfront, especially with the late withdrawal of Adam Coleman, and that proved to be the case – at least in the first half.
South Africa sought the contact while the Wallabies tried to play an up-tempo ball-in-hand game. But Australia, especially with so many changes and the greasy conditions, did not have the combination or skills to play an All Blacks brand of rugby.
The Wallabies fought hard to stay in the game and in the second half it was surprisingly Australia’s bench, with big contributions from young front-rowers Fainga’a and Tupou, that turned the tide.
Australia’s scrum in the second half was a different beast to the first and made a crucial contribution at the death.
For simple guts Australia get full marks. To lose three of your top stars – David Pocock on the day before the game, and Coleman and Israel Folau on match day itself, and still win: hats off to Messrs Cheika and Hooper. Courageous effort.
It will be hard for Rassie Erasmus to find anything worthwhile in this performance. Mapimpi’s try was well taken but the school-boy mistake to gift Toomua his try was comical and kept the Wallabies in the game at a crucial point. Error-strewn.
The win means the All Blacks remain unbeaten after the third round of the Championship.
A brief spurt before half-time and again in the closing minutes made the difference for Steve Hansen’s men against an unpredictable Pumas attack.
It marked the first time the All had played a Test in Nelson, nearly 150 years after the city hosted the historic first game of rugby in New Zealand, and they did that by outscoring the Pumas six tries to three to claim the bonus point.
But it did not come easy against an Argentina side boosted by a convincing win over South Africa and who were ahead 7-3 after 15 minutes in their search for a first ever win over New Zealand.
But, before a capacity crowd of 21,400, they could not handle the All Blacks trade mark closing burst which produced two late converted tries.
It meant Argentina’s dismal record against the All Blacks slumped to one draw and 26 losses from 27 Tests and they are closing in on the unwanted record of the team to play the most matches against New Zealand without a win – currently held by Scotland on 31.
Richie Mo’unga put the All Blacks on the board in the second minute via a penalty.
Much had been made of Mo’unga getting a start at fly-half in only his second Test but it was flanker Shannon Frizell, on his first start, who made the biggest impact with his powerful running around the ruck.
A triple injury blow in the ninth minute for the All Blacks saw Ben Smith, Ngani Laumape (knee) and Brodie Retallick (shoulder) leave the field to be replaced by Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sam Whitelock.
In the 10 minutes it took Smith to return from his head injury assessment both sides had scored tries and the All Blacks were back in front 10-7.
Ramiro Moyano put Argentina briefly in front when he stepped around Mo’unga, TJ Perenara and Codie Taylor to score, while a Frizell rampage paved the way for Nehe Milner-Skudder to reply for the All Blacks.
Perenara extended the lead to 15-7 with a try diving around the side of a ruck, and when Matias Moroni was denied a try for Argentina when his foot brushed the touchline amid a superb Perenara tackle, Mo’unga ended the half with a second penalty for the All Blacks.
Nicolas Sanchez scored and converted to get Argentina within four points before Smith opened the lead with a try.
A penalty given away by Sanchez brought Perenara’s second try and when Sanchez put Emiliano Boffelli in to score in reply, the All Blacks came back with one through Frizell.
With time up, Jack Goodhue crashed over for the All Blacks’ sixth and bonus point try.
The All Blacks have triumphed 46-24 in Nelson over an impressive Pumas team.
Here’s how the highly entertaining match unfolded:
00 min: Tears from the Pumas in the national anthem, a ferocious haka from the All Blacks
1 min: Early penalty to the hosts but Richie Mo’unga misses touch. Not a great start for the new fly-half
2 min: Brodie Retallick falls hard on his right elbow and receives treatment. Could be an early replacement. Sam Whitelock is ready on the sideline.
3 mins: PENALTY to ALL BLACKS – All Blacks put on the heat at the first scrum and the Pumas pack folds like a deck of cards. Mo’unga lands the resulting penalty. ALL BLACKS lead 3-0
5 mins: Ardie Savea gives up a penalty from the kick off and Nicolas Sanchez goes for goal. He misses badly to the right.
9 mins: Great open passage of play but more injuries for the All Blacks. THREE CHANGES! Ben Smith in the bin for a HIA, Damian McKenzie on for him; Ngani Laumape off with a knee problem, Anton Lienert-Brown on; and Retallick goes for Sam Whitelock.
12 mins: All Blacks lose a line out on Pumas 22.
15 mins: TRY to PUMAS – Argentina move the ball quickly. Moyano finds himself in space on the left. He steps inside Mo’unga and then wrong foots TJ Perenara to score a superb solo try. Sanchez converts. PUMAS lead 7-3
16 mins: Ben Smith returns from his HIA. He’s okay. McKenzie back to the bench.
17 mins: TRY to ALL BLACKS – Shannon Frizzell has been impressive early. He makes another tackle bust to get the Pumas back-pedaling in their 22. The ball comes out to Codie Taylor who sends a long ball to Nehe Milner-Skudder who dives over in the corner. Mo’unga converts from the touchline. All Blacks back in front. ALL BLACKS lead 10-7
22 mins: All Blacks have two great chances to score but two knock-ons ruin the chances. The Pumas attack from within their own 22 and make some good yards down field. Great courage from the visitors. Hard to see the Boks or Wallabies doing that.
29 mins: TRY to ALL BLACKS – New Zealand attack close to the line with some powerful runs by Ardie Savea and Owen Franks. Jack Goodhue goes close and then Perenara finishes off with a sharp dive. Mo’unga misses the conversion. ALL BLACKS lead 15-7
34 mins: NO TRY to PUMAS – Poor defence from the All Blacks. Bad kick from Milner-Skudder and Sanchez ghosts through non-existent All Blacks tacklers. Great tackle from Perenara somehow prevents the try. Lucky break for All Blacks.
37 mins: More missed tackles by the All Blacks. First Agustin Creevy goes through from a ruck then Emiliano Boffelli slices the New Zealand defence open.
40 mins: PENALTY to ALL BLACKS: Referee Pascal Gauzere has been extremely tough at the break down on the Pumas caning the visitors in the penalty count 9-2. Must be seeing something I’m not. They get yet another penalty and Mo’unga extends the lead. ALL BLACKS lead 18-7
HALF-TIME: ALL BLACKS lead 18-7. Great first half of rugby. New Zealand have made eight handling errors to three from Argentina. Pumas unlucky not to be closer on the scoreboard, but will the visitors tire in the second half.
41 mins: TRY to PUMAS – Great start from Argentina. Some big tackles in the All Blacks 22 and they turn the ball over. They hold the ball and patiently probe the All Blacks line. The ball comes to Sanchez who steps through Franks non-existent tackle and scores. Sanchez converts his own try. ALL BLACKS lead 18-14
46 mins: Pumas deep on attack again and AGAIN another breakdown penalty won by Ardie Savea. All Blacks clear.
48 mins: TRY to ALL BLACKS – All Blacks line out on the Pumas 22. It’s over thrown by Codie Taylor but Argentina clear poorly. Waisake Naholo brings it back, then a great break by Ben Smith, ball comes wide to Goodhue who finds his captain Read and the No8 powers his way over. Mo’unga converts. ALL BLACKS lead 25-14
55 mins: PENALTY to PUMAS – Pumas on the attack and miracle! A breakdown penalty to Argentina. Sanchez lands it, in so doing becomes Argentina’s highest ever point scorer. ALL BLACKS lead 25-17
#RugbyChampionship— Cómo Te Atreves (@comoteatreves1) September 8, 2018
🇳🇿All Blacks 46-24 Los Pumas🇦🇷
15'🏉Try: Moyano (C: Sánchez)
42'🏉Try y conversión: Sánchez
70'🏉Try: Boffelli (C: Sánchez)
📷 @lospumas / @AllBlacks pic.twitter.com/yR2rtE8XUG
57 mins: TRY to ALL BLACKS – Some good defence from the Pumas but Lienert-Brown turns it on and bursts through the middle. Perenara is in support and takes the pass to dive over under the posts. Mo’unga converts. ALL BLACKS lead 32-17
62 mins: Nathan Harris is on for Taylor and loses his first lineout throw. Not a great start for the Chiefs No2.
64 mins: Another breakdown penalty against the All Blacks. Looks like Mr Gauzere has finally decided to start refereeing both teams.
67 mins: TRY to PUMAS – Pumas deep on the attack and another penalty against the All Blacks. Sanchez asks for a yellow card but Gauzere waves him away. Argentina set a scrum and they work a simple move with Boffelli wrapping around Sanchez and cutting straight through to score. Sanchez converts. ALL BLACKS lead 32-24
73 mins: TRY to ALL BLACKS – Quality sustained attack from the All Blacks and after 16 phases Frizell goes over from close to the line. The fans celebrate a try for the local boy. Mo’unga converts. ALL BLACKS lead 39-24
79 mins: TRY to ALL BLACKS – A Pumas error and the All Blacks turn it on. A bit of McKenzie magic and Goodhue goes over. Mo’unga converts. Very cruel on the Pumas as the score blows out. ALL BLACKS lead 46-24
FULL TIME: All Blacks win 46-24 but the 22-point margin doesn’t do justice to a superb Argentina performance.