Rugby World: Eddie Jones' 'wince-inducing' prose, fastest All Black revealed, Wallabies reality check from Lions legend
Although the Spring Tours might have come to an end, there is still plenty to talk about from the world of rugby this week.
New Zealand have consolidated top spot in the Rugby Championship with a commanding 39-0 victory over Argentina on the Gold Coast.
Caught off guard in a shock first-ever loss to the Pumas in the corresponding fixture last year, the All Blacks shut out the South Americans in a ruthless display this time around.
Despite making six changes to his starting side, Ian Foster’s men piled on five unanswered tries to notch their third straight bonus-point win, having crushed the Wallabies in their first two games of the tournament.
Rieko Ioane, Sevu Reece, Dalton Papalii and Luke Jacobson, who bagged a double, all crossed in the opening game of Sunday’s double-header at Cbus Super Stadium.
Brothers Beauden and Jordie Barrett added four conversions and two penalty goals between them to round out the drubbing.
“We can be incredibly proud of that performance,” said stand-out stand-in All Blacks captain Brodie Retallick after leading the team for the first time.
“To keep them at zero, defensively, we really had to break them down.
“We found a lot of space with the Wallabies the last few weeks but we had to wear the Pumas down with our set piece and with our carries.
“So we can be proud of that effort.”
The All Blacks camped themselves inside the Pumas’ territory for much of the first half, but only had one try to show for their dominance until producing a 15-point blitz late in the section.
Argentina defended valiantly before the floodgates opened with Reece’s five-pointer in the 37th minute, followed by Papalii’s driving maul try four minutes after the halftime siren when the Pumas were down a man.
Pablo Matera was yellow-carded for a breakdown infringement and the All Blacks punished the Pumas in the flanker’s absence.
With rugged centre David Havili and Ioane running amok, the All Blacks snuffed out any hopes of an Argentine second-half fightback with their fourth try seven minutes after the interval.
No.8 Jacobson was the beneficiary of Beauden Barrett’s scything run and brilliant flick pass as New Zealand’s lead blew out to 29-0.
Argentina were reduced to 14 men for a second time when veteran prop Carlos Muzzio was sin-binned after referee Nic Berry lost patience following a succession of penalties against the Pumas.
The All Blacks again made them pay, with Jacobson doing it all himself for his second try that completed the scoring.
“It’s a tough defeat,” said”Argentina captain Julian Montoya.
“We must see what we have done wrong… we must be hard on ourselves.”
With two big losses to South Africa as well, Argentina remain empty-handed ahead of their return bout with New Zealand on Saturday in Brisbane.
Australia’s heart-stopping 28-26 victory over the world champion Springboks in Sunday night’s second Test leaves the Pumas as the only winless team in the tournament.