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Player Ratings: Warning signs for Michael Cheika

OPINION: The 12-41 loss was a huge shock to an Argentina side of which much more was expected.

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Los Pumas now travel to Australia knowing that to be able to compete at the highest level their defensive alignment must be much better and despite having a few kilograms on the All Blacks’ pack, more work is needed from them at the breakdown.

A couple of tries went begging but after losing 0-17 after twelve minutes, the battle was always going to be uphill. Pocket-wing Mateo Carreras was the best Puma in a team of individual under-performers.

The first not to give excuses for the loss will be the Pumas themselves, but in the analysis, it can’t be denied that the team has not had the same time together as the All Blacks in the lead-up to the test.

Check out how the Los Pumas players rated:

15 Emiliano Boffelli – 5

Had few opportunities to shine with the ball in hand and fell prey to the All Blacks elaborate attacking moves. Missed one of the two conversions and seemed more involved when moved to the wing for the final half hour.

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14 Sebastián Cancelliere – 6

A late selection, he came in for Bautista Delguy and showed his hunger early on, making a first tackle from kick-off. Chased hard but with the ball being an All Blacks’ asset, the Glasgow wing saw very little action and seemed at times lost in a defensive wall that was constantly broken by the visitors.

13 Matías Moroni – 5

Replaced by club teammate Matías Orlando, he was unusually quiet in defence, finding it hard to read the All Black attack. With a new inside centre in Lucio Cinti, they failed to offer certainty in the 50 minutes they were on the field.

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He failed to defend Rieko Ioane’s break that lead to the first try, kicked on the full when it was wiser to keep control of the ball and was stopped by a double tackle very close to the tryline.

12 Lucio Cinti – 5.5

A former sevens player, was beaten to the ball by hooker Dane Coles in a footrace, which showed how frustrating the afternoon was for the young player in his first test at 12. He tackled hard and had few opportunities with the ball in hand. Deserves another chance.

11 Mateo Carreras – 7

The best Argentine player on the day, confirming that size is not indispensable at this level. He was restricted mostly to a defensive role and kept his opposite wing Narawa under check whenever faced directly. His commitment was showcased in the 78th minute when he got a bloody nose after two tackles and a turnover.

Would have been lovely to see him with the ball in hand and his attacking skills are second to none.

10 Santiago Carreras – 5

Still question marks handing on whether he should wear number ten or 15 – just in case he played the final half hour at 15 and seemed to have a better performance there. As a flyhalf, he kicked aimlessly, often dividing the ball when it was more important to maintain possession. He has to be on the field.

9 Gonzalo Bertranou – 4.5

His 50th test in his home city was his first game since early January. It showed as he lacked intensity and fell often to the role of a passer, not putting the All Blacks under pressure around the fringes. Truth is, he never had good quality ball. Missed the tackle that leads to Rieko Ioane’s try.

8 Rodrigo Bruni – 6.5

Hot and cold during a busy game for the number eight. He was one of the few Pumas that managed to break the first line of defence but was not well supported. Yellow-carded in the 38th minute for his team’s repeated infringements, he was the pick of a beaten Puma pack.

7 Juan Martín González – 5.5

Mature beyond his years, 22-year-old González was industrious but beaten in the physical battle by a stronger forward’s pack.
The local pin-up boy was an option in the lineout, stealing one in his final minutes. More was expected of him in front of his home fans.

6 Pablo Matera – 6

His first few minutes made us imagine this would be his game. With the ball in hand or in defence, he was constantly in the heat of the battle. Covered a McKenzie kick that could have led to a try but then, as the Pumas pack was beaten in every aspect, he slowly faded. Had a second wind in the final minutes, but did not shine against some of his former Crusaders teammates.

5 Tomás Lavanini – 5

A couple of strong tackles, his constant presence in the breakdown, Lavannini did not shine. His discipline, for years his Achilles, was on check and did not give away unnecessary penalties.

4 Matías Alemanno – 6

As with Lavannini, you don’t expect a lock to shine in the open and Alemanno didn’t. His role he did as always, with extreme commitment, but it wasn’t enough to generate recognition on the day. Played the full game at the same standard throughout.

3 Lucio Sordoni – 4

Returning to the national team after a series of long-term injuries, he was penalized three times for collapsing the scrum, missed a key tackle in All Blacks’ first try. Made up for a quiet first half by scoring Los Pumas’ first try in the 52nd minute. Still, the game’s worst haircut.

2 Julián Montoya – 5.5

The captain was, as always, busy, but could do nothing in a well-beaten pack. Solid in the scrum on his own ball, he failed to put the All Blacks under pressure on their own ball. Had a fair point when asked referee Angus Gardner about consistency on a couple of issues. Nothing changed despite his complaint.

1  Thomas Gallo – 5

It took 49 minutes to see the first of his trademark runs. A couple of minutes later he tapped a penalty and came close to scoring, with his fellow prop Lucio Sordoni touching down eventually. Well-beaten in the scrum, his final minutes on the field were more active than in a negative first half for himself.

Replacements:

16 Agustín Creevy – 6

At 38, and playing his 98th test, the former captain only played twelve minutes in which he handled the ball a couple of times and put some gloss on a big loss with a well-taken try. He is always a good servant and deservedly will become Argentina’s first Centurion.

17 Mayco Vivas – 6

Fifteen minutes for the prop who dropped a ball and carried a couple more. Few scrums to analyze his impact.

18 Eduardo Bello – 5

As with Vivas, not enough seen of him to make a clear judgement.

19 Pedro Rubiolo – 5

Worked hard in the last quarter but failed to make any dents in the All Blacks pack.

20 Santiago Grondona – 4

He did not add a spark to the Pumas back row when he come on with 20 minutes to play. If he was used as an impact player, he did not impact.

21 Lautaro Bazán Vélez – 4.5

Slow to the ball a few times, he needs game time to get accustomed to test rugby. Playing 20 minutes against the All Blacks is part of his learning curve.

22 Nicolás Sánchez – 5

Playing the final half hour, the backs were reshuffled to accommodate him. His first kick was bad, and his influence wasn’t huge. He needs to confirm he is indispensable for Argentina in the next couple of games as World Cup selection is fast approaching

23 Matías Orlando – 5.5

In the All Blacks first attack a couple of minutes after he came on board, the Newcastle centre was found wanting as Damian Mackenzie ran around him to then pass to Beauden Barrett for the All Blacks sixth try. Continues to be an adequate option.

By Frankie Deges, Rugbypass

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