Rugby Championship: Outstanding Argentina stun the All Blacks to put Ian Foster back under pressure

·3-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Ian Foster made more unwanted history as New Zealand head coach as they became the first All Blacks team to lose to Argentina at home.

Foster received a stay of execution following their victory over South Africa but this result is a catastrophe for both the head coach and the governing body.

However, although there will be plenty of fallout from this abject defeat, all the credit has to go to Los Pumas, who were once again utterly magnificent.

Two weeks after their record-breaking victory over Australia, they went to the home of the three-time world champions and produced another incredible effort.

Even though New Zealand were the better team with ball in hand in the first half, scoring two tries via Samisoni Taukei’aho and Caleb Clarke, their discipline let them down throughout and Argentina capitalised.

Los Pumas sharp-shooter Emiliano Boffelli was superb off the tee, taking advantage of the hosts’ infringements to keep them in contention at the break.

And they lifted their intensity even more in the second period, despite Richie Mo’unga’s early penalty, as Juan Martin Gonzalez’s try and two more Boffelli three-pointers sealed a historic win.

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Buoyed by their superb Rugby Championship triumph over the Springboks in Johannesburg, the All Blacks were attempting to make it successive victories for the first time since last year, but they were simply abysmal in Christchurch.

The Kiwis certainly made their intentions known early on by looking to move the ball through the phases, but they were inaccurate and it enabled Boffelli to give the visitors a 3-0 advantage.

New Zealand hit back straight away, however, and it came through their maul. Forwards coach Jason Ryan has made a significant impression since joining the set-up and it looked organised and powerful as they surged across the whitewash, with Taukei’aho touching down.

The scrum was also in the ascendency but, despite that set-piece dominance, they were conceding far too many penalties and Boffelli took advantage.

His second three-pointer moved the South Americans back in front before Mo’unga responded for the All Blacks, giving them an 8-6 lead.

Foster’s charges then constructed a brilliant try following a botched Argentina lineout as they moved it through the hands, with Clarke lurking to finish off a flowing move.

Brilliant Boffelli

That could have been the score which prompted the hosts to find their rhythm but Los Pumas remained physical, resilient and smart as Boffelli kicked two more penalties.

They were just 15-12 in arrears at the break and, although Mo’unga briefly extended that gap early in the second period, from the restart the visitors had their first try.

Boffelli brilliantly put Scott Barrett under pressure and Gonzalez collected the loose ball to surge across the whitewash out wide.

The wing, almost inevitably, nailed a difficult conversion to move the away team back in front before he was on target soon after for a 22-18 lead.

That then became a seven-point buffer, once again thanks to the outstanding Boffelli, and left New Zealand searching for answers.

Argentina’s defence was huge while the All Blacks lacked creativity and a yellow card for Shannon Frizell made the job even more difficult for Foster’s men.

The All Blacks did press for a converted try late on which would level the match but Argentina deservedly held on for an incredible victory.

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