All Blacks get pass mark from coach after beating Pumas

Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:10am EDT
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, (Reuters) - The All Blacks upped the gears on their World Cup preparations, taking a step forward in their execution while they continued to develop a high-pace game plan with a 39-18 win over Argentina in Christchurch on Friday.

The victory in the Rugby Championship opener was a massive leap from a scrappy 25-16 win over Samoa last week in Apia though it indicated Steve Hansen's side still have a lot of work to do if they are to defend the World Cup in two months.

Captain Richie McCaw, Ma'a Nonu, Charles Piutau, Kieran Read and debutant Codie Taylor all scored tries while flyhalf Dan Carter, who appeared more confident at challenging the defensive line, slotted 14 points from the boot.

"We went up four or five gears and we needed to, to be honest," Hansen said in a televised interview.

"For most of the game we were pretty good, but there was a period there for about 10 or 15 minutes when we went to sleep and let them back into it.

"Overall a pass mark."

The All Blacks imposed their pace on the game from the beginning and ran the Pumas defence ragged, with Piutau's try early in the second half a clear demonstration of their attacking intent and ability to execute it.

The left winger scored after backs and forwards combined to create a wave of runners all offloading in the tackle and changing angles as the Pumas were stretched thin.

Such was the pace of the game during that period, that Pumas captain Agustin Creevy was too out of breath to complain to referee Craig Joubert about what he thought had been a forward pass during another All Blacks' attack.   Continued...

New Zealand's coach Steve Hansen arrives for their international rugby union match against England at Twickenham in London November 8, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett