NZ surge past Pumas, Australia beat SA

Sport360 staff 17:13 10/09/2016

New Zealand overcame a spirited challenge from revitalised Argentina to win 57-22 in Hamilton.

Santiago Cordero’s second-minute opener and a slew of points from Nicolas Sanchez stunned the All Blacks but they rallied to turn the tables.

Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty grabbed two tries apiece at the Waikato Stadium while a touchdown and six conversions from Beauden Barrett boosted New Zealand towards their 14th-straight win.

Argentina, buoyed by their recent victory over South Africa, took an early lead which they would not surrender until late in the half.

Martin Landajo’s break in the second minute enabled Cordero to give the Pumas a dream start, with Sanchez converting.

Julian Savea and Barrett soon dragged New Zealand level with a converted try, but Sanchez’s boot remained hot and two penalties boosted Argentina 13-7 ahead before Ben Smith dotted down thanks to Aaron Smith’s skip pass in the 23rd minute.

Barrett converted before Sanchez’s third penalty kept the Pumas’ noses in front, however briefly.

On 32 minutes Israel Dagg edged the hosts in front with a penalty and it was not long before Ben Smith put in a grubber kick for Barrett to grab seven more points with his converted try.

Another Sanchez penalty darkened the All Blacks’ mood, but they led 24-19 at the interval.

Sanchez returned to the pitch to boot three more points – a false dawn for the tourists as New Zealand promptly ran riot with two tries from Crotty and one from Charlie Faumuina.

Beauden’s conversions took the score to 45-22 by the 63rd minute and the home advantage extended to 30 points when Ben Smith raced under the posts for a try converted by Aaron Cruden.

Argentina were not able to escape without further punishment as Luke Romano ran in the All Blacks’ eighth try, which Cruden could not convert.

Elsewhere, Australia beat South Africa 23-17 in wet Brisbane to earn their first win in this year’s Rugby Championship.

The holders had the misfortune of playing world champions New Zealand in their first two games and, having lost both heavily, had to beat the Springboks to avoid being also-rans.

The visitors led 14-3 after 18 minutes, but Australia made it 13-14 at half-time and took a decisive nine-point advantage on 61 minutes.

Michael Cheika’s men, for whom inside centre Bernard Foley scored 18 points, could have won by more had it not been for several mistakes in attacking positions.

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