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All Blacks overcome gallant Pumas

Despite a massive scare from a fired-up Pumas side, the All Blacks have won their opening match in Pool C at the World Cup.

Sonny Bill Williams made a huge impact on the game.

Sonny Bill Williams made a huge impact on the game.

As it happened: New Zealand v Argentina

The Pumas struggled initially, gifting the All Blacks three easy kickable penalties, which Carter duly converted for 9-0 lead by the 19th minute.

Once their nerves had settled however, the Pumas started to get into their stride and caused their more fancied opponents a number of problems on defence.

They scored the first try of the match through Petti after his fellow forwards had taken the ball through a number of phases, allowing the big lock to dive over. Nicolas Sanchez converted easily.

The try brought new self-belief to the Pumas and they soon had the All Blacks on the back foot. Yellow cards to Richie McCaw and Conrad Smith didn’t help the world champions while Sanchez happily slotted three penalties as the All Blacks discipline began to let them down. Carter replied with a penalty of his own and the teams went into half-time at 13-12 in favour of the Pumas.

Argentina extended their lead soon after the resumption with another Sanchez penalty. Steve Hansen then turned to his bench and his replacements helped his side come back into the game very strongly.

None more so than Sonny Bill Williams who immediately caused the Pumas defence some trouble. Milner-Skudder should have had a try in the right-hand corner, but he inexplicably dropped the ball after a brilliant Williams off-load.

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The momentum had changed however, and the All Blacks duly scored their first try of the World Cup when scrumhalf Aaron Smith sniped his way over in the 57th minute. Carter converted to put the All Blacks back into a 19-16 lead.

Williams and Aaron Smith then combined in the 65th minute, but the lively scrumhalf’s pass was knocked on by replaced Sam Cane. Cane had his try a minute later with some slick handling by the All Blacks backs put him the whitewash unopposed. Carter added the extra two points with an easy conversion. The All Blacks now lead by 26-16 as the Pumas started to tire.

Both teams had a few chances in the remaining minutes but in front of the biggest crowd ever to witness a rugby international (89 019), the All Blacks proved why they are the team to beat this tournament.

To watch video highlights of the game, click here

Scorers:

New Zealand

Tries: Sam Cane, Aaron Smith

Penalties: Daniel Carter (4)

Conversions: Daniel Carter (2)

Argentina

Try: Guido Petti

Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (3)

Conversion: Nicolas Sanchez

Sport 24

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