Player ratings: So close, yet so far
OPINION: Argentina has come within four points of securing a famous maiden win over New Zealand in their opening Rugby Championship clash of the year in Buenos Aires.
It was the first match of the year for both sides as their World Cup preparations kick into gear.
Alex McLeod rates Argentinean players
1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro – 5
Got slightly more involved in the second stanza after a quiet first half, but a handling error inside the 55th minute cost the Pumas a good try-scoring chance. Missed the most tackles of any player in the match.
2. Augustin Creevy – 7
The veteran showed plenty of passion, intent and leadership, as we’ve come to expect from him in recent years. Accurate at the lineout more often than not.
3. Juan Figallo – 6.5
Powerful scrummaging had Tu’ungafasi back-peddling at scrum time. Wasn’t as effective in most other facets of the game.
4. Guido Petti – 8.5
Always a safe option at the line-out, looked to make a menace of himself in the tight stuff. Didn’t miss a tackle, claimed two turnovers, won eight lineouts, and stole another two. One of the key cogs that often goes unheralded for both the Jaguares and Pumas.
5. Tomas Lavanini – 6
Not as effective as his locking partner, but continually shifted his big frame around the park with the sort of aggression we’ve become accustomed to from him nonetheless. Perhaps a bit too one-dimensional on attack.
6. Pablo Matera – 7
Ran hard and tackled solidly. Big work rate, and was one of the brightest sparks in a tough Pumas forward pack. Lucky to escape a yellow card for a deliberate knockdown late in the piece.
7. Marcos Kremer – 5
Missed a great chance to open the try-scoring from close range, and next notable actions were to concede two penalties inside his own half, both of which were punished by Beauden Barrett’s boot.
8. Javier Ortega Desio – 6
Was severely outplayed by his opposite Savea, although three turnovers won is a good return in a quiet display from the No 8.
9. Tomas Cubelli – 8
Didn’t get the sort of service he would have liked from his forward pack in the first quarter of the match, but that and his box kicking improved as the game grew older. Good, flat passing put teammates through some defensive holes on occasion. Great intensity throughout the contest, and finished the match as one of Argentina’s best.
10. Nicolas Sanchez – 7
Accurate boot from the kicking tee. Kicking game was just as lethal in-game, forcing the likes of Ben Smith to produce uncharacteristic errors under the high ball. Assisted Brodie Retallick’s try by throwing the intercept, but rebounded strongly with some quick thinking to assist Boffelli’s try.
11. Ramiro Moyano – 6
Was relatively quiet until he was forced to make an unlikely try-saving on Ben Smith after being beaten by the pass of Beauden Barrett. Clinical on defence.
12. Jeronimo de la Fuente – 7.5
Super dependable on defence. Finished second in the tackle count after registering 16 tackles, which is a truckload of work for a back. Was unlucky not to have scored in the 68th minute after doing plenty of hard work to set Moyano away for a disallowed try.
13. Matias Orlando – 7
Not quite as good as de la Fuente, but still did his best to keep the All Blacks at bay. Completed all of his tackles, but a couple of handling errors at key times cost his team.
14. Matias Moroni – 6.5
Was regularly put under pressure by the All Blacks’ kicking game and dealt with the threat well. Would have liked to get his hands on the ball more in better attacking positions.
15. Emiliano Boffelli – 7
Thunderous boot from the tee helped Argentina’s cause early on. Continued to hack away at the All Blacks’ defence when given the chance, and used his height and aerial ability to full advantage to score Argentina’ only try.
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16. Julian Montoya – 6.5
Had big boots to fill after coming on in place of Creevy, but did so adequately enough without causing too much of a threat to the All Blacks.
17. Mayco Vivas – 6
Was in the thick of the action on attack after being thrusted into the contest with nine minutes remaining.
18. Santiago Medrano – 5
Lost the ball in contact with the first touch. Was barely seen beyond that point.
19. Matias Alemanno – 6.5
Saved a potential try with a clutch tackle on Ennor in the closing stages of the contest to keep his side in with a shout.
20. Tomas Lezana – 6
Nothing to rave about after coming on in place of Kremer, although he caused a stir on the All Blacks bench when he was Argentina’s 16th man on the field while Lavanini was having an injury niggle taken care of.
21. Felipe Ezcurra – N/A
Had a big task on his hands to emulate the performance of Cubelli from the bench, but didn’t have enough time to do so.
22. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla – N/A
Didn’t get much of an opportunity to make much of a difference after subbing in late in the clash.
23. Joaquin Tuculet – 6
Had limited chances to try and spark something on attack in the dying stages, and tried his best to do exactly that, but he just couldn’t get things going.