The All Blacks beat the Pumas but lost inspirational captain Richie McCaw for the rest of the Rugby Championship.
McCaw tore medial knee ligaments in the 60th minute in the All Blacks uninspiring 28-13 win against Argentina.
The All Blacks, who trailed 7-0 within five minute, led 15-10 at halftime.
The hosts scored three tries but couldn’t convert pressure into a fourth try bonus point.
The match was played in wet conditions and the Pumas, passionate and brave, again were beneficiaries of difficult weather conditions.
Last season the Pumas played the All BLacks in a wet and windy Wellington and the All Blacks stuttered to a 21-5 win.
This time it was more comfortable but never comprehensive.
Dan Carter made his comeback from injury and produced some vintage moments amid some of the ordinary.
He was replaced on 54 minutes but the big replacement came six minutes later when McCaw limped from the filed and out of the tournament.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed Matt Todd would join the squad in place of McCaw and said he didn’t expect to see McCaw back during the Championship.
‘It’s a four to five weeks injury, at least,’ said Hansen.
Kieran Read will captain the All Blacks against the Springboks and Sam Cane is expected to start in place of McCaw.
All Blacks – Tries: Aaron Smith (2), Julian Savea. Conversions: Dan Carter (2). Penalties: Carter (2), Beauden Barrett.
Argentina – Try: Juan Manuel Leguizamon. Conversion: Nicolas Sanchez. Penalties: Sanchez (2).
All Blacks – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Charles Piutau.
Argentina – 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (c), 5 Julio Farias Cabello, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Subs: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Benjamin Macome, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Felipe Contepomi, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
80 FULL TIME: NEW ZEALAND 28-13 ARGENTINA
80 Sanchez intercepts…No, he’s dropped it! That’s full-time! A hard-fought win in the end for the All Blacks, who outscored the Pumas three tries to one. The poor Argentina line-out cost the visitors dearly tonight, but no one will be surprised by the result. Thanks for joining us. Next up, the Wallabies v the Springboks. I’ll catch you next week. Cheers!
79 Argentina kick into the corner from a penalty. They make a hash of the line-out (again) and give away a scrum. That was their last chance, and they wrecked it. Crockett is off, seeing stars.
77 Wyatt Crockett looks like he’s got a serious injury here as the Pumas try to run their way out of their half. Contepomi stepping and darting but progress is slow.
75 PENALTY, NEW ZEALAND, BARRETT. 28-13. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe is very, very lucky to escape a yellow card after pulling Francis Saili back as he chased a kick ahead with no one back defending. That prevented a try. Surely it counts as a professional foul? Anyway, three more points seals the win for the home side.
73 Scrum penalty to NZ this time! Juan Pablo Orlandi blow up for going straight down.
71 Another scrum penalty to Argentina. Hernandez goes long. Aaron Smith tries to keep it in by fumbles! Scrum to the Pumas on the NZ 22. Lots of action from the benches. Piutau and Contepomi are amongst those who join the fray.
69 Opportunity lost for the All Blacks. A few quick passes ends with Conrad Smith’s pass to Ben Smith going out. Argentina secure the line out and get it away.
67 Bizarre refereeing here. The All Backs knock on, the ref plays ‘advantage’, Agulla is tackled over the deadball line and the ref gives the 5m scrum feed to the All Blacks! So what happened to advantage?
65 Argentina really are nowhere at line-out time. The Kiwi set piece secures possession once again and the attack is a fast one, taking play right up the Pumas’ line…penalty! Smith goes for touch.
63 A long,long punt from Barrett has Hernandez under pressure deep in his won 22. A one-handed pass to Leguizamon, who must kick, is needed. NZ get a scrum from the line-out but the Pumas absolutely smash them as soon as the ref says ‘engage’. Penalty. Hernandez clears.
61 McCaw is off! King Richie hobbles to the sidelines with a thigh injury – it doesn’t look good. Will he be fit to face the Boks next week?
60 Such frustration for Argentina. Another big charge from Leguizamon sets up a series of charges from the men in blue and white. The All Blacks tackle bravely to keep them out though. Eventually a knock on gives NZ a scrum in their 22.
58 A let off for NZ as Sanchez hits the crossbar with a long-range penalty effort. Conrad Smith spills the ball so the Pumas have an attacking scrum.
56 CONVERSION, CARTER. 25-13. That’s Carter’s last act tonight – Beauden Barrett takes his place.
55 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, SAVEA. 23-13. Brilliant. Simply brilliant. Read charges Sanchez down, and races away. He’s stopped 7m short but three perfect long passes later the ball has gone the width of the field for an easy try for Savea.
53 PENALTY, ARGENTINA, SANCHEZ. 18-13. Argentina are still is this!
51 Whoa! A huge scrum from Argentina has the ref’s arm out. They drive up to the 22 before Bosch chips ahead. Ben Smith cleans up…but we’ll come back for the penalty.
49 PENALTY, NEW ZEALAND, CARTER. 18-10. Some breathing room at last for NZ.
47 Dane Coles comes on for Andrew Hore. Scrum to Argentiona on their 22m line. Tighthead! The All Blacks push ‘em off the ball and can attack..
45 Whoa. Helter skelter stuff as play goes from one end of the field to the other and back again. It’s turning into that sort of night in the slippery conditions as gaps are found, but offloads aren’t easy to hold onto. Gonzalo Camacho goes off with his arm in a sling. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino is added to the right wing.
42 Argentina hang on by the skin of their teeth. They’re exposed out wide but scramble to come up with the numbers to keep Conrad Smioth out. NZ keep pushing but Cabello wins the penalty off the deck as the All Blacks don’t release.
41 The All Blacks have made a change at half time. Wyatt Crockett comes on for Tony Woodcock. Argentina start with a mistake as Leguizamon drops Carter’s kick-off. That’s both halves started with an error by los Pumas – not good.
40 NEW ZEALAND 15-10 ARGENTINA
40 That’s half time! The score remains close but the All Blacks really dominated the second 20 minutes. Although Argentina’s line-out is a mess, their scrum could cause a few problems in the wet in the second half. We’ll be back in ten.
38 NZ probe in centre field, looking to strike before half time but the Pumas defence is lined up well. The visitors will be happy with a 5-point gap at the break.
36 The rain is absolutely chucking down now. It’s soaking wet out there. Handling is very tough. Another big Pumas scrum allows Leguizamon to break but is offload inside goes to ground. Another scrum on the Kiwi 10m line.
34 Yet another Pumas line-out goes astray. They really are missing Patricio Albacete. The All Blacks use the opportunity as Aaron Smith chips ahead for Ben Smith to chase. Hernandez races back and dives onto the ball, in-goal, to save the day. Close call.
32 PENALTY, ARGENTINA, SANCHEZ. 15-10. We still have a game on here! McCaw is penalised on the deck and Sanchez keeps the visitors within striking distance. That sin-bin really cost Argentina, but they’re hanging on!
30 Not a great kick from Carter, who misses the conversion. 15-7.
29 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, A. SMITH. 15-7. Talk about a turn-around. In the space of a few minutes the All Blacks have taken control. Carter breaks from deep inside his own half and races 40m. Charlie Faumuina and Steven Luatua ensure the momentum is maintained. The TMO is called in to see if Aaron Smith dotted down ahead of Landajo as they chase down the chip ahead. That’s two tries for Smith!
27 CONVERSION, CARTER. 10-7.
25 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, A. SMITH. 8-7. Clever work by the All Blacks, who exploit the missing defending on the blindside. A brilliant offload from Kieran Read sets up his scrum-half, who dives into the corner.
24 YELLOW CARD, ARGENTINA, GUINAZU. A sweeping attack from the All Blacks is thwarted just short of the line by a Puma who doesn’t roll away, again. The ref has had enough and the hooker goes to the bin.
22 King Richie is penalised for not rolling away. Hernandez sends play to half way.
20 It’s comedy of errors in Hamilton but if you’re an All Blacks fan, you’re not laughing. Steven Luatua’s pass goes straight through Julian Savea’s hands. The Pumas have a line-out and chance to finally get out of their own half.
18 Bad mistake from Marcelo Bosch, who kicks straight into touch from his 10m line after Juan Figallo had stolen the ball back on the deck. It’s all New Zealand at the moment, the Pumas can’t get their hands on the ball.
16 MISSED PENALTY by Carter. Another long-range effort is off target. Another penalty at the breakdown for the tackler not rolling away. Referee Jerome Garces has a word with Fernandez Lobbe. Another penalty like that and someone could be in trouble.
13 MISSED PENALTY by Carter. The NZ pivot has crack from 45m out but it’s a tough ask in the rain. Argentina still lead by 4.
10 PENALTY, NEW ZEALAND, CARTER. 3-7. The hosts are on the board as Argentina get penalised for an infringement on their own line-out throw. Retallick stole it and Guinazu goes offside trying to fix the error.
7 CONVERSION, SANCHEZ. 0-7. Oh, do we have a game on our hands now or what!
5 TRY, ARGENTINA, LEGUIZAMON. 0-5. Unreal! What a start by Argentina, who score the opening try off a sweeping move. Francis Saili will not want to see the replay as he misses a tackle in midfield . The ball finds Juan Manuel Leguizamon in acres of space. He pins his ears back and bolts home!
4 Whitelock steals the line-out! Opportunity lost for the Pumas. Carter clears but the visitors come straight back on the counter…this looks good!
3 Great scrum for the Pumas! They push the hosts back before going wide. The attacks breaks down but the ref comes back for a penalty at the scrum. The Pumas kick into the corner.
2 New Zealand try a switch move off the back of the scrum but Carter’s pass to Julian Savea is forward. Back to square one.
1 Here we go! Juan Martin Hernandez kicks us off…it’s out on the full! Scrum to the All Blacks on the centre spot.
0 Haka time! It’s Ka Mate – led by Richie McCaw! Let do this!
0 Here come the teams! Time for the anthems – please stand!
0 Conditions aren’t great. It’s wet and cold. That’s probably good news for the visitors, who like to get down and dirty…
0 A modification has been made to the Television Match Official (TMO) protocol as it will operate in The Rugby Championship from today. It empowers the match referee to make his own ‘TMO calls’ from the stadium Big Screen. Up until now, the referee has been permitted to make only foul play decisions based on his viewing of the Big Screen. From now on the referee will be permitted to make all decisions relating to the current TMO Protocol from the Big Screen. The recommendation was made by a meeting of the IRB’s Law Review Group in Dublin this week.
0 22-year-old Francis Saili will make his Test debut – replacing Ma’a Nonu at inside centre – in an All Blacks side featuring three changes from the team that secured the Bledisloe Cup. Dan Carter returns from injury at fly-half for his 96th Test in place of the injured Tom Taylor while tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina replaces Owen Franks. Reserve pivot Beauden Barrett has also recovered from a calf strain and takes his place on the bench.
0 Argentina are boosted by the return from injury of captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe at blindside flank. Manuel Carizza replaces Mariano Galarza at lock. Veteran centre Felipe Contepomi drops to the bench as Santiago Fernandez starts alongside Marcelo Bosch while Juan Martin Hernandez replaces Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino at full-back.
0 Hello and welcome to Waikato Stadium in Hamilton where Argentina are seeking their first ever win over the All Blacks. That seems unlikely, but Los Pumas are sure to put up a good fight – as they always do. Let’s not speak too soon though…it’s just a matter of time before they upset one of the big guns. Kick-off is approaching – don’t stray too far.