Mon, Oct 1, 12:22pm by Staff Writer
The New Zealand All Blacks wrapped up the 2018 Rugby Championship on the weekend with a 35-17 win against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
The win caps yet another series win for the New Zealand side, who have won six of the seven Rugby Championships to date.
Since Argentina’s inclusion in the six-match competition, New Zealand were only defeated in 2015 by Australia.
Coach Steve Hansen imposed his rotation policy once again during Sunday morning’s match, as he gave game time to less experienced All Blacks.
The Pumas started ferociously and slotted a sixth minute penalty to open the scoring for the hosts.
It was an All Black avalanche for the remainder of the first half, as they scored three tries before intermission.
The first was through winger Rieko Ioane in the seventh minute. That score was followed up a scorer from his opposite winger Waisake Naholo. The All Blacks had a 14-3 lead after 20 minutes and continued to look to press home their advantage.
Ioane scored his second at the half hour market to extend the All Blacks’ lead to 18 points.
Sonny Bill Williams was sin binned after the All Blacks infringed repeatedly while defending their line.
Argentina was unable to capitalise with a man advantage though, as they coughed up possession and fumbled he ball when in possession.
It was a similar narrative for the Pumas after half time, as they failed to capitalise when they had ball in hand.
The Pumas made clean breaks before being stopped in their tracks by crushing All Blacks defence, with a Ryan Crotty hit in the 43rd minute one such example.
Patrick Tuipulotu scored in the 54th minute to seal the result for New Zealand giving them a 28-3 lead.
Speedsters Tomas Cubelli and Emilian Boffelli scored in the 58th and 67th minutes respectively to add credibility to the score, although the result was beyond doubt.
Anton Lienert-Brown scored in the 72nd minute, with Richie Mo’unga coming on to replace Beauden Barrett and converting the try as the All Blacks were victorious 35-17.
Port Elizabeth has not been a happy hunting ground for the Wallabies, with the Australian’s winless in their previous four matches at the ground.
That streak extended to five games after Sunday morning’s 23-12 result against South Africa.
The game started in sensational fashion, with Aphiwe Dyantyi scoring inside the first minute from an errant Kurtley Beale pass.
The Australian number 10 tried to cut out multiple defenders inside his own 22 early in the game, but his pass was picked off by the winger who scored under the posts.
It was the worst possible start for Australia playing in a hostile environment and things got worse for the green and gold just minutes later.
South Africa’s dominance of possession and territory was rewarded when Faf de Klerk scored to give the hosts a 14-0 lead.
Reece Hodge and Will Genia hit back for Australia, to trim the Springboks’ lead to just two points.
Australia missed two penalty goals in the opening half that proved costly.
South African kicker Handre Pollard was not wayward, slotting two late penalty goals in the first half to give his side a 20-12 lead at the break.
Pollard added a third penalty goal in the 45th minute as South Africa had a 23-12 lead.
Australia pressed on countless occasions, turning down penalty goals in search of a try.
The Wallabies lineout was problematic all game long and it failed to deliver in crucial moments.
South Africa absorbed countless minutes of pressure, coming away with possession only to be under siege soon after.
Australia had a clean game plan to swing wide whenever possible, but couldn’t get past a staunch South African defence.
The win is their second in successive Rugby Championship games before their final match of the competition against New Zealand.
Australia’s poor run continues, with their lone win against South Africa by five points in Brisbane earlier this month.
The Wallabies have now lost eight of their past 10 Test matches, as they go searching for that spark in attack and focus in defence.
They visit Argentina in their final Rugby Championship game, priced as $2 underdogs, with the hosts a $1.81 shot.
South Africa are $5 outsiders to defeat New Zealand who are paying $1.17.
Both matches take place next Sunday morning (AEDST)
Rugby Championship Odds
South Africa $5 New Zealand $1.17
Argentina $1.81 Australia $2
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