The Pumas secure historic result over All Blacks in Sydney in Tri-Nations
Argentina beat New Zealand for first time ever
The Argentina fly-half slotted six penalties and converted his own first-half try as the Pumas defied the odds to seal a historic win in the Tri-Nations tournament.
Captain Pablo Matera was outstanding as the Pumas maintained a high tempo throughout, corralled the All Blacks in defence and showed accuracy in all facets of the game. Back-row Marcos Kremer, with 23 tackles in the game, was another who stood out.
Argentina’s performance was quite remarkable given that they hadn’t played a Test since being knocked out of the World Cup more than a year ago and the players had been short of competitive rugby since Super Rugby was suspended due to Covid-19 in March. Many felt they would be short of match fitness and may fade later in the game, but instead their freshness proved to be an advantage.
The energy and physicality the Pumas brought in the first half seemed to unsettle the All Blacks, who were unable to find their usual rhythm as Argentina built a 16-3 half-time lead.
Sanchez punished any All Blacks’ ill-discipline with his boot and scored a brilliant try midway through the opening period.
With the security of a penalty advantage, the Argentina fly-half chipped over the New Zealand defence, the ball was kneed on by No 8 Rodrigo Bruni, then Sanchez collected it and dived over the line for the try as the All Blacks floundered.
You can watch the Sanchez try here…
Sam Cane scored a try from a five-metre lineout in the second half as the All Blacks looked to get back into the game and Caleb Clarke crossed late on, but the Pumas were not to be denied a famous victory, with their commitment and intensity in defence superb over the 80 minutes.
Matera said: “It’s a big day for Argentina rugby. It’s very tough in Argentina at the moment and it was tough for us to come here and prepare for this tournament, but we want to show people that if you work hard you can get things done. I’m really proud of this team and our country. It’s very special.”
Having been beaten by Australia last week, this is the first time New Zealand have lost back-to-back matches since 2011. All Blacks coach Ian Foster bemoaned the lack of discipline and composure from his team as they failed to react well under pressure for the second straight game.
“In the first 40 they had the passion we expected them to have and were accurate and forced us to get ill-disciplined again, which is frustrating,” said Foster. “They’re a country that hadn’t played for a year and they had a big cause to play for. It’s the second week in a row we’ve not had good composure when things aren’t going our way.”
The result opens up the Tri-Nations, with all competing teams having won one match. The Pumas face Australia next weekend while the All Blacks have a week off to reassess.
For now, though, it’s a chance for Argentina to reflect on what they have achieved. The pure joy on the faces of the players – and the tears of coach Mario Ledesma – showed how significant a result this was.
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