Argentina vs All Blacks: Rugby Championship live score updates
New Zealand's All Blacks wing Sonny Bill Williams vies with Argentina's (No. 8) Leonardo Senatore. AAP Image/AFP, William West
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Argentina Vs. New Zealand
2012 Rugby Championship, 30 September, 2012
|Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata|
|New Zealand 54 defeated Argentina 15|
|Referee: J Peyper|
|Touch judges: C Joubert & P Gauzere|
The All Blacks take on Los Pumas at the ominously named Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, 9am Sunday morning AEST.
Join us on The Roar for scores, comments and live updates from La Plata.
It will be fascinating to see how the All Blacks respond to the unique challenge of playing Argentina in front of an expected 55,000-strong fiesta, in what will be the inaugural Test match at this stadium.
For a team with zero wins from this tournament and coming up against the dominance of the men in black, you’d think the Argentineans would be pushing water the wrong way up a river in trying to get their first win of the Championship.
But you can’t deny the Pumas are onto a good thing.
Historically they have won an impressive 65% of home games. And over the past decade their average scoreline against the All Blacks in Argentina is 20-25, compared with an average scoreline of 10-40 against the All Blacks in New Zealand.
Los Pumas are a different side at home.
They bring an indelible spirit; something you can’t coach against. A poll on the Union Argentina De Rugby website had 75% of respondents believing Argentina would win the game.
Sentiment or not they have reason to be optimistic. A consistently competitive showing in their first Championship has vindicated their inclusion in arguably the hardest competition in the world, and you get the sense they are building to something in the years to come.
New Zealand dispatched the Wallabies in the first two rounds of The Championship. Round three and they were met with a far greater challenge from the Pumas in Wellington, as the blue hoops scythed the legs off their opponents in a cutting defensive display; faltering only in the last quarter as the ABs stepped it up four gears to run away in classic fashion, winning 21-5.
Fast forward to round five and the All Blacks, still undefeated, will be searching for a win in Argentina to wrap up the winners medal for the first Rugby Championship, and to play their way back to their untouchable form of last year. The team has been running like a Ferrari on the wrong type of fuel, stuttering along in between spurts of brilliance.
Weepu’s wandering about the field like a child who’s temporarily lost his mother, and with Aaron Smith blowing hot and cold the ABs could have an issue at the rudder.
The midfield combination of Nonu and Smith is at its most dysfunctional in their 40-odd tests together. Sonny Bill’s absconding midway through the party appears to have left a surprisingly large spanner in the works, and the clunky backline moves and dropped ball has probably resulted in the fewer number of tries scored than we might have expected.
It has to be said the AB’s scrum has also been underwhelming; largely made up of the dominating Crusaders pack you could expect Steve Hanson would not be satisfied with their inability to assert their authority thus far. Owen Franks needs to start firing.
This of course brings us to the notable point that the All Blacks are doing what all great teams manage to do; finding ways to win even when they’re playing badly. And despite their wildly inconsistent game play this year they’ve not lost their mettle, or a game.
And let’s not forget that Carter is back in the starting lineup which is likely to inject some fluidity into the backline; one of only two changes to the starting team from their 21-11 win against SA in Dunedin.
Aaron Smith is also promoted to the starting side, having come off the bench against the Springboks to score that brilliant try.
Sam Cane has been named on the bench for the first time this Championship, and could be an exciting substitution for any of the starting backrowers.
Los Pumas have not changed their starting lineup from their round four loss to the Wallabies, where they narrowly went down 23-19.
Expect a massive showing from the front row, and a huge battle in the scrums, with a big game from the powerhouse 35 year-old prop, Rodrigo Roncero.
The ABs won’t have an easy time of this; look out for a draw.
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