The All Blacks, launched an impressive start to their Rugby Championship campaign with a resounding 41-12 win over Argentina in Mendoza. The match showcased Damian McKenzie’s exceptional skills, reinforcing his case for inclusion in the Rugby World Cup squad.
The All Blacks wasted no time, scoring three tries within the first 12 minutes and establishing a commanding 31-0 lead by halftime. Dane Coles, Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, and debutant Emoni Narawa all contributed to the scoring.
Although McKenzie struggled with his kicking accuracy, his playmaking abilities were evident as he created space for his teammates. His performance served as a timely reminder to coach Ian Foster of his talents, as McKenzie was preferred over Richie Mo’unga for the match.
New Zealand’s swift ruck play and attacking prowess put immense pressure on Argentina, resulting in numerous penalties conceded by the hosts. Argentina managed to score tries through prop Lucio Sordoni and hooker Agustin Creevy, but it was not enough to overcome the dominant All Blacks.
Speaking after the match, New Zealand captain Sam Cane expressed his satisfaction with the team’s strong start, particularly their discipline and clinical execution in the first half. He credited their ability to exploit open spaces for their commanding lead.
Argentina, eager to showcase their potential ahead of the Rugby World Cup, faltered in the face of New Zealand’s relentless onslaught. Their ill-advised kicking and inability to match the All Blacks’ pace and power contributed to their downfall.
The match served as a dazzling display by the visiting team, dispelling doubts following a challenging 2022 season that included their first-ever home loss to Argentina. The All Blacks demonstrated their determination to bounce back and showcased their formidable skills.
Argentina captain Julian Montoya expressed disappointment in the result, emphasizing the need for improvement and greater focus as a team. He acknowledged that sustained concentration for the full 80 minutes is essential at this level of play.
The All Blacks’ victory sets a strong tone for their Rugby Championship campaign, while Argentina will seek to regroup and come back stronger in their next match.