All Blacks crush Pumas in Buenos Aires

A late first-half onslaught helped the All Blacks to a 36-17 victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires.

The All Blacks, having already secured the Rugby Championship, turned on the style in the second quarter with four quick-fire tries to leave their opponents stunned.

The side have now won all five of their Rugby Championship games with a bonus point and will look to complete a perfect series against South Africa in Durban next week after recording their 16th straight Test win.

For Los Pumas, another promising opening was spoiled by lapses in concentration and inferior fitness and now travel to London to complete their championship against Australia.

All Blacks players insisted throughout the week they’d need a solid start to silence the 50,000-strong home crowd at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, and went looking for an early advantage in a helter-skelter opening.

Barely two minutes were on the clock in Buenos Aires when five-eighth Beauden Barrett notched a penalty goal, but a stubborn Pumas defence prevented further damage in the opening 20 minutes.

Skipper Agustin Creevy and No.8 Facundo Isa stood out for the hosts, while All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara looked assured in a starting role.

But the world champions flicked the switch in the final 20 minutes of the first half, running in four unanswered tries to go into the break 29-3 ahead.

Centre Anton Lienert-Brown barged over for a debut Test try off a Barrett pass in the 27th minute, before a Nicolas Sanchez penalty reduced the gap to seven.

The All Blacks extended their lead when a poor Creevy lineout gifted the ball to No.8 Kieran Read, and second-five Ryan Crotty scored from the following phase.

A pair of tries in the final two minutes to hooker Dane Coles and Perenara, the latter straight from a kick-off, put New Zealand in a commanding position at the break.

The All Blacks extended their lead within five minutes of the restart when the impressive Lienert-Brown offloaded to fullback Ben Smith to score.

But loosehead Joe Moody was sent to the bin for a swinging arm soon after, allowing Argentina to build pressure.

Isa barged over from a scrum to nab Los Pumas’ first try and Argentina continued to dominate as blindside Liam Squire received his own yellow card seven minutes later.

However the South American side’s pressure yielded little until a Joaquin Tuculet consolation try gave Argentina something to cheer with three minutes remaining.

The All Blacks will claim a record 18 consecutive Test victories with wins in Durban and in Auckland in the third Bledisloe dead rubber.

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