The All Blacks’ set pieces were laced with steel – the scrum was brutal in the first spell, especially – and when that’s aligned with a desire to play with width and offload in contact it can be lethal. –Dominion Post Rugby writer, Richard Knowler

An impressive unbeaten record

By Roger Childs

Nine matches nine wins for the 2021 season, all by more than 20 points. The Bledisloe Cup is in the cabinet and the All Blacks are certain to capture the 2021 Rugby Championship trophy next weekend. Showing impressive depth by making 11 changes to last week’s virtually full strength side, the New Zealanders beat the Pumas on Saturday by 36-13 scoring five tries to one.

The match was played in front of more than 35,000 spectators at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The local fans had been delighted to see the Wallabies beat the Springboks in the early game scoring 5 tries to one, in their 30-17 demolition of the World Cup champions. 

Argentina was much more competitive than last week against the All Backs when they failed to score a point in Townsville. In yesterday’s game their defence was generally resolute and they often ran the ball effectively in the backs, especially in the second half. They probably had slightly the better of the forward play in rucks and malls and won a number of turnovers.

Plenty of entertainment

The All Blacks played the game at pace from the start with quick delivery from half back TJ Perenara, speedy running by the outside backs and excellent backing up from the loose forwards.

Flanker Ethan Blackadder had a great all-round game getting a number of takes in the lineout, running impressively in the open and tackling solidly. Hoskins Sotutu was always dangerous off the back on the scrum and captain Ardie Savea led by example with his usual vigorous game. The All Black scrum was clearly superior to the Pumas who were often pushed back. Hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho had an excellent match, throwing accurately into the lineout, working tirelessly in the tight and always getting over the advantage line when taking the ball up.

All the backs played well with Rieko Ioane making a number of telling breaks and after one solo effort was unlucky not to be awarded a try under the posts when he was clearly not held.  The one improvement he could make to his game is to be more aware of supporting players when he makes a break so that he doesn’t die with ball. 

Will Jordan and George Bridge on the wings were also dangerous on attack in Saturday’s match and Quinn Tupaea at second five, who had looked out of his depth in his July test debut game, was much more assured and like all the backs was strong on defence.

Back at full back Jordie Barrett often provided the extra man in passing movements which led to at least two tries. His goal kicking was accurate with four conversions and a penalty and his only miss hit the post from wide out.

Two to play

In terms of improvement with the two clashes against the Springboks coming up, the All Black backs need to avoid throwing forward passes which cost them two first-half tries against the Pumas. There also needs to be fewer penalties given away for off-side play.

Coaches, players and fans would love to see a clean sweep in the 2021 Rugby Championship, but the South Africans will not be easy-beats.  They will have learnt from their two losses to  the Wallabies and know that they will not beat the All Blacks by penalties and kicking the ball away; instead they need to score tries.