All Blacks in tight win against Pumas

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 22 Jul 2019

A depleted New Zealand side survived a second-half onslaught from Argentina to win a Rugby Championship first round match 20-16 in Buenos Aires.

After trailing by 11 points at half-time, the Pumas kept the All Blacks scoreless in the second half only to fail narrowly in their quest for a first victory over the world champions.

New Zealand chalked up a 450th Test win despite resting many of the Canterbury Crusaders stars who won a third consecutive Super Rugby title two weeks ago.

Clinical finishing helped the All Blacks to a 20-9 half-time advantage, but the Pumas scored early in the second half to leave just four points separating the teams.

Argentina made an encouraging start with Sanchez and Emiliano Boffelli slotting penalties inside seven minutes for a six-point lead at Estadio Jose Amalfitani.

New Zealand scored the first of two opening-half tries on 18 minutes with Ngani Laumape powering over between the posts after a quick Aaron Smith tap penalty.

Brodie Retallick scored the try and Barrett kicked the conversion and two penalties to take him past 600 points in his Test career.

The try, a minute before half-time, stunned the home crowd as Retallick intercepted a Sanchez pass and ran unchallenged to the line.

Sanchez, the architect of the try with a perfectly weighted lofted kick toward the tryline, converted.

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