Player Ratings: History makers
OPINION: An untidy test match in pristine Christchurch conditions wrapped up with the visiting Argentinians securing their first-ever victory on New Zealand soil, as well as reaffirming their position atop the Rugby Championship leaderboard.
The hero of the day was undeniably the Pumas’ defence.
Their accuracy was matched only by their physicality as they made executing a rapid line-speed against the All Blacks look like a practice drill. The All Blacks were persistent in their phase play and made some progress down the field but it was the Pumas who looked the more composed team, rolling with the punches until an inevitable All Blacks mistake.
Argentina entered this game with the best set-piece statistics in the Rugby Championship but that was the one area where – at least for the majority of the match – NZ had the advantage. The scrum and the lineout were both huge strengths for the All Blacks, a positive sign for new forwards coach Jason Ryan.
Unfortunately for the All Blacks, their discipline did not compliment their set piece, giving Emiliano Boffelli plenty of opportunity off the tee. The wing took every opportunity given to him, ending the game six from six on penalties and one from one on conversions. Those points accumulated alongside a single try to Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso was enough to secure a 25 – 18 victory.
Ned Lester rates the Los Pumas players
1. Thomas Gallo – 4/10
The Argentinian scrum was well and truly demolished, to the extent rarely seen between tier one nations. Showed good mobility and efficiency around the breakdown.
2. Julian Montoya – 6.5
Was a strong leader and put in a big shift, but was also at the centre of a troublesome scrum, a shaky line out and a retreating rolling maul. Made a lot of tackles.
3: Joel Sclavi – 4
Ethan de Groot was all over him at scrum time. Gave away the penalty which lead to the All Blacks first try.
4. Matias Alemanno – 6.5
Showed up all over the place on defence, including an impressive desperation tackle on Richie Mo’unga.
5. Tomas Lavanini – 7.5
Contributed physicality and experience. Stayed out of trouble.
6. Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso – 8
When the commentary team mistakenly calls you Pablo Matera, it’s safe to say you’re making good plays. Has a natural knack for being in the right place at the right time, reflective of his effort around the park.
7. Marcos Kremer – 9
Was the only player on the field who won every physical encounter he was involved in. Not just dominant and consistent, but timely. Was given the Ardie Savea assignment and did as well as anyone could; he had the All Blacks No 8 wrapped up the second he caught the ball throughout the game.
8. Pablo Matera – 8.5
Running, tackling, passing, kicking… This man is a threat in every facet of the game.
9. Gonzalo Bertranou – 7.5
Argentina’s game management was sublime, playing on top of the All Blacks in short bursts and wasting no time when front-foot ball was disrupted.
10. Santiago Carreras – 8.5
Incredible kicking throughout the match, getting maximum meters with every penalty and controlling the territorial game well.
11. Lucio Cinti – 6
Chased well, had limited opportunities. Contributed well to removing Will Jordan’s impact from the game.
12. Matias Orlando – 6
Was outmuscled consistently on both sides of the ball. Showed plenty of fight and work rate but was on the wrong side of momentous plays. Used his speed well to get in the way of the All Blacks’ backline play and force the first receiver to take the tackle when they were looking to spread the ball wider.
13. Matias Moroni – 7
Operates well within David Kidwell’s defence, playing just outside more physical defenders and contributing to the tackle but quickly returning to the defensive line. Was also exposed physically at times.
14. Emiliano Boffelli – 8.5
Converted all seven of his kicks from the tee, applying scoreboard pressure. His effort in contesting the kick-off led to Gonzalez’s try, stopping any momentum the All Blacks were hoping to build off their own try moments earlier.
15. Juan Cruz Mallia – 6.5
Had a few kicks that were beyond his chasers, yet not as territorially advantageous as he perhaps would have liked. Carreras seemed to manage most of the backfield play.
16. Santiago Socino – N/A
Played well in all of his 60 seconds on the park.
17. Marco Vivas – N/A
Went charging into tackles fearlessly, going very low.
18. Eduardo Bello – N/A
Michael Cheika was looking for some scrum stability off the bench, he did not get it.
19. Guido Petti – 7
Timely line out steal. Was strong in his tackles, often holding players up for long enough to stunt momentum and give his team time to set their defence.
20. Santiago Grondona – N/A
The replacement forwards did bring some success with the rolling maul off the line out.
21. Tomas Cubelli – 7.5
Was a real turnover threat when he came on. Managed to get the ball out of the scrum quick enough.
22. Thomas Albornoz – N/A
23. Santiago Condero – N/A
By Ned Lester, Rugbypass