Led ferociously by flanker and captain Pablo Matera, the Pumas dominated in almost every facet to notch a deserved 25-15 victory at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium.
Potent fly-half Nicolás Sánchez scored all 25 of the Pumas’ points from a try, a conversion and six penalties in a record-setting display from the electric No 10. It was the most points amassed in a Test between the two teams over a 30-match rivalry stretching to 1985.
While the All Blacks entered the game battled-hardened after four Bledisloe Cup stoushes with the Wallabies, the Pumas were playing their first Test in more than a year. But there were no signs of rust as they outclassed the three-time world champions all over the park, Matera mighty and Sánchez punishing the All Blacks for their ill-discipline.
Sánchez opened the scoring with a fourth-minute penalty before his New Zealand counterpart Richie Mo’unga replied to level the scores. But by the time Sánchez had bagged a brilliant chip-and-chase try and banged over three more penalties, the Pumas had established a 16-3 lead at the break.
Despite captain Sam Cane briefly reducing the deficit to nine points with the All Blacks’ first try in the 53rd minute, the Pumas were never going to be denied, converting their biggest half-time lead over New Zealand into a rousing win. Caleb Clarke crossed for a consolation try after the siren, but it was way too little too late.
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by theguardian.com has not been edited by SLM staff)