Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade admits his side could not live with the All Blacks’ pace and power for the full 80 minutes in their 57-22 loss.
The South American side roared out of the blocks in Hamilton on Saturday, bagging an early try and producing an exciting brand of rugby based on offloads and strength at the set-piece.
But the world champions’ sheer class won out in the end as Los Pumas ran out of steam after the 50-minute mark.
The All Blacks, fortified by several substitutions, began to exploit space to score five unanswered second-half tries and coast to victory.
Argentina came in for considerable praise from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen after the match, and Hourcade was pleased by his side’s competitiveness against the best team in the world.
But he said they had failed to make their early periods of dominance count or use their kicking game to good effect.
“We put a lot of pressure against them but perhaps we consumed a lot of energy,” Hourcade said.
“When we couldn’t put that pressure on, they were more relaxed and started to play, and it made a big difference.”
Skipper Agustin Creevy, who made 15 carries for 35 minutes, received hearty applause from the Kiwi faithful when substituted in the second half.
He was honoured by the gesture but upset his side couldn’t make their early intensity pay.
His side had looked to take advantage of the All Blacks’ vulnerability at the breakdown by playing closer to the ruck but soon grew fatigued.
“They can produce the difference in the last 20 minutes as they showed today,” the 31-year-old said.
“They showed they’re one step ahead of the rest of the teams.”
Hourcade’s Pumas will now travel to Perth to take on an Australian outfit buoyed by their drought-breaking victory over the Springboks in Brisbane on Saturday.
Creevy said only a victory would satisfy him against the Wallabies.
“We’re here to win games and not just to see what happens, we want to continue growing,” the Jaguares hooker said.
“We are a team that’s going to look for a win against Australia and the games afterwards.”