New Zealand 18-25 Argentina: Pumas claim historic first away win over struggling All Blacks

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Argentina claimed their first away victory over New Zealand as an outstanding defensive performance saw them seal a 25-18 win in the Rugby Championship.

The Pumas were consistently under intense pressure in Christchurch but they overturned a 15-12 half-time deficit through the boot of Emiliano Boffelli and a superb rearguard effort saw them cling on.

It is a result that will only intensify the scrutiny on All Blacks coach Ian Foster, whose side have followed a home Test series defeat to Ireland with losses to South Africa and Argentina in this competition.

Argentina, by contrast, are an in the unfamiliar position of sitting top of the Rugby Championship table, this famous win following a thrashing of Australia at home two weeks ago.

The prospect of Argentina pulling off such a shock looked unlikely in a first half in which New Zealand crossed for two tries.

Samisoni Taukei'aho went over after a lineout drive, a try that came between two penalties from Boffelli.

Richie Mo'unga then converted a three-pointer of his own before Caleb Clarke raced over after Argentina went long at a lineout and Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett combined to set up the wing down the left.

But another pair of Boffelli penalties kept Argentina within striking distance at half-time and they tightened their defence after the break.

A Mo'unga kick stretched the New Zealand lead to six but the All Blacks never added to their tally thereafter.

The restart following the Mo'unga penalty saw Argentina steal the ball, allowing Juan Martin Gonzalez to steam over for the Pumas' sole try.

Boffelli converted and maintained his accuracy from the tee to convert another two penalties, leaving New Zealand - who saw Shannon Frizell sin-binned nine minutes from time - needing a converted try just to snatch a draw.

They were not up to the task despite dominating possession and territory, their last opportunity coming and going as they failed to keep a lineout straight deep into Argentina territory, giving the visitors the chance to boot the ball into touch after the subsequent scrum and spark jubilant celebrations.

Historic lows for Foster's All Blacks

This was the first home game for New Zealand since the successive losses to Ireland that handed the Test series to Andy Farrell's side

And, with defeat to the Pumas, the All Blacks have now lost three consecutive home Tests for the first time in their history.

They have also lost four Tests in 2022, only twice have they lost more in a calendar year (5 in 1998 and 6 in 1949) and there are still three rounds of this tournament to play.

Ferocious Pumas stand tall

Argentina's defensive effort was illustrated by their 195 tackles. They missed only eight in the contest, with that solidity critical in securing consecutive wins for the first time since November 2020.