The All Blacks’ depth has been tested once again in their 57-22 win over Argentina, with several substitutes being injected into the fray to good effect.
The world champions were challenged in the first half by an energetic Pumas outfit and, looking for stability, introduced halfback TJ Perenara and prop Charlie Faumuina soon after half-time.
Both responded in the best possible way, with Perenara laying on three try assists in an assured display and Faumuina barging over for a five-pointer in the corner.
Fellow substitute Luke Romano also managed to influence proceedings by crossing for a late try.
Coach Steve Hansen said the 24-year-old Perenara, who helped lead the Hurricanes to Super Rugby glory this season, deserved his 32 minutes after a sub-par Aaron Smith display.
“Nuggy (Smith) just wasn’t having the night he wanted, getting a little frustrated,” Hansen said.
“It was great for TJ to come on and I thought he was outstanding, playing really well (and) cleared the ball quickly off the deck.”
Perenara said he was glad to play his part after participating in just 28 minutes of the All Blacks’ back-to-back wins over the Wallabies.
“My job is to come on and be accurate in what I do and try and make an impact,” Perenara said.
Blues tighthead Faumuina said he and his teammates on the bench endeavoured to inject energy into the affair as Los Pumas visibly wilted.
They were glad to add some zip to the All Blacks’ offensive play.
“The boys were working hard in the first half and you just want to bring something special to them, a bit of energy that the boys needed,” 29-year-old Faumuina said.