MX23RW : Thursday, July 18 10:05:46| >> :600:126296555:126296555:
Jul 17, 2015 at 8.35am UK at ​AMI Stadium, Christchurch
New Zealand
39-18
Argentina
McCaw (20'), Nonu (40'), Piutau (42'), Read (48'), Taylor (71')
FT
Creevy (55', 61')

Live Commentary: New Zealand 39-18 Argentina - as it happened

Follow Sports Mole's live coverage of the opening match of the 2015 Rugby Championship between defending champions New Zealand and Argentina.
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New Zealand scored five tries in an emphatic 39-18 win over Argentina in the opening match of the Rugby Championship in Christchurch.

Richie McCaw and Ma'a Nonu scored first-half tries for the All Blacks, before two from Pumas captain Agustin Creevy got the visitors back into the contest.

Charles Piutau, Kieran Read and Codie Taylor, who was making his first appearance, all scored in the second half to ensure a win for the defending champions though.

Read how all the action unfolded below.


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Good morning! World champions New Zealand get the defence of their Rugby Championship title underway with a match against Argentina, just a couple of months before the two sides are due to meet at the Rugby World Cup. Let's start with a look at the teams.

NEW ZEALAND STARTING XV: Dagg, Naholo, Nunu, Williams, Piutau, Carter, Perenara, Woodcock, Mealamu, Franks, Romano, Retallick, Kaino, McCaw, Read

ARGENTINA STARTING XV Tuculet, Agulla, Bosch, De la Fuente, Cordero, Sanchez, Cubelli, Ayerza, Creevy, Herrera, Carizza, Pagadizabal, Leguizamon, Lobbe, Isa

So, there's a debut for Waisake Naholo for the All Blacks, who is joining Clermont Auvergne for the 2015-16 season. The Fiji-born winger scored 13 tries in 18 appearances for Super Rugby side Highlanders last season. Steven Hansen has kept plenty of experienced players in though, with captain Richie McCaw picking up his 139th cap.

Argentina have gone with a youthful lineups, including debuts for number eight Facundo Isa, lock Guido Petti and winger Santiago Cordero. Juan Martin Hernandez, who had a strong season with Toulon, is rested with the world cup just a couple of months away.

Because of the World Cup, this year's Rugby Championship is a shorter one, with the sides facing each other just once rather than in a home and away fixture, in order to give the teams longer to prepare for the tournament. That will certainly suit New Zealand, as they will be looking to defend the title that they won on home soil four years ago.

The New Zealand players have been out on the pitch warming up ready for the match. Last year, the All Blacks cruised to a 28-9 win at home against Argentina, before claiming a 34-13 in La Plata.


As we mentioned in the introduction, Argentina have not won an away match since entering the Rugby Championship four years ago. However, in their last outing in Medoza last year, the Pumas beat Australia, which should give them hope going into this match.

This will to be the last match that Richie McCaw and Dan Carter play together in their home city of Christchurch, with the captain expected to retire after the World Cup, and Carter moving to French side Racing Metro after 13 years with the Crusaders.

Ahead of this match, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said at a press conference: "If you don't play well in a Test match it hurts. We didn't play well in our last one so it's been reasonably hurtful and this is our first opportunity to fix it." His comments are in reference to last week's 25-16 win over Samoa in a warmup match.

Meanwhile, Daniel Hourcade, the Argentina coach, said in his pre-match press briefing: "The great advantage the All Blacks have is they do everything well. If you make a little mistake, they are ready to take advantage of it."

The players have just made their way out of the dressing rooms ready for the pre-match formalities, which includes the national anthems and the infamous Haka.

Right then, the anthems are done, the Haka has been performed and referee Craig Joubert is signalling for the players to get ready for kickoff, which will be taken by New Zealand.

KICKOFF! Dan Carter gets the match underway.

Israel Dagg has to be alert early on as the Pumas try to kick the ball long from the back, but the fullback quickly gets it away to Carter, resulting in a string of quick passes as the All Blacks try to make their way into Argentina territory, but the ball comes loose, and the Pumas get the first scrum of the match.

TJ Perenara almost gets a hand to it in the scrum, but Argentina get to it first, allowing Jeronimo de la Fuente to skip out wide and look for a gap, but he's forced into touch. It's been a lively start from both sides, with Argentina certainly looking to attack.

New Zealand have the first penalty of the match as the Pumas are penalised for not releasing as they tried to recover a blocked kick, giving Dan Carter his first look at the posts.

PENALTY! New Zealand 3-0 Argentina (Dan Carter)

Carter's kick has the distance from over 40 metres out, but it looks like it's heading a fraction wide. He just squeezes it through though, with the ball brushing the inside of the right post on the way through.

The Pumas are having to scrap hard from the back as they try to get the ball away from their try line, eventually giving themselves some breathing space as Nicolas Sanchez kicks the ball clear. It looks like there could be a bit of moisture in the air too, as it slips through Naholo's hands in the middle, giving Argentina another scrum.

New Zealand try to wheel the scrum, but Isa picks it up, giving the tourists a chance to make their way into New Zealand territory. Carter brings him down before Perenara gets involved, but he catches the tackled player, so Argentina have a chance to level the scores.

PENALTY! New Zealand 3-3 Argentina (Nicolas Sanchez)

A brilliant interception by Waisake Naholo gives New Zealand possession in a promising possession, before Carter takes it into the 22, skipping inside as he looks for a gap to slip through for a try. Agustin Creevy blocks McCaw's run, before Carizza stops Naholo's run. It's fierce defending by the Pumas.

PENALTY! New Zealand 6-3 Argentina (Dan Carter)

The All Blacks have to settle for a kick again as a mis-timed tackle forces Carter into touch, and the fly-half slices it just inside the right upright again.

Argentina try to apply some pressure down the other end, but Dagg picks a pass off and sprints back into Argentina territory. Sonny Bill Williams and McCaw work the ball towards the 22 as New Zealand bear down on the Argentina try line again.

A Carter pass for McCaw misses its target, but Nonu picks it up. Carter eventually tries to dive over, but some desperate defending from Argentina prevents the fly-half from touching it down. Eventually, the visitors give away the penalty though, and this time the hosts kick it out for a lineout.

TRY! New Zealand 11-3 Argentina (Richie McCaw)

From the lineout, New Zealand quickly works the ball to McCaw, who has space in front of him to give him an easy dive for the line, giving him the opening try of the contest.

MISSED CONVERSION! It's a tight angle for Carter as he looks for the conversion, but this time he can't quite curl it in, leaving the All Blacks with just the five points from Carters' try.

Argentina have another scrum inside their own territory as they try to find a way back into this match. Perenara steels it back for the home side though, before trying to kick it to the opposite flank where Sonny Bill Williams is waiting, but the centre can't control it, leaving it to go into touch for an Argentina lineout.

Perenara and Woodcock work well to slow Argentina's charge as Ayerza and Herrera try to push on towards the New Zealand 22. A heavy tackle from Kaino gets the ball back for New Zealand, but Piutau is penalised for not releasing after being brought down out wide. Argentina a showing a lot of promise, but just haven't been able to keep possession long enough to get a look at the New Zealand try line.

From the lineout, there's a driving maul from Argentina as they press further into New Zealand territory. Naholo collects a kick forward though, racing around several Pumas players are he sprints out from the back, but the referee brings it back.

MISSED PENALTY! Marcelo Bosch lines up a long-range kick at the goalposts from near the half way line after Naholo was penalised for not releasing the ball after being tackled. He's known for getting quite some distance on the ball, but this one falls well short.

PENALTY! New Zealand 11-6 Argentina (Nicolas Sanchez)

Argentina quickly get another chance to reduce the deficit as New Zealand are penalised while looking for another quick break from inside their own territory. Nicolas Sanchez retakes the kicking duties, and blasts it straight through the middle.

Williams has to stretch around a couple of players to pass the ball accurately to McCaw, who wins a penalty when he's tackled by a player on the ground, giving Dan Carter a chance to restore the eight-point lead.

MISSED PENALTY! Carter stays on two successful kicks from four attempts at the posts as he tries to curl the ball in from near the touchline, slicing the ball across the face of the posts.

New Zealand are looking to increase their lead further as the interval approaches, winning a scrum inside the 22. Williams and Carter try to work it out wide for a second New Zealand try, but Argentina are defending excellently.

TRY! New Zealand 16-6 Argentina (Ma'a Nonu)

As the claxon for half time sounds, New Zealand work hard to keep the ball alive. Carter passes it out to the left, where Nonu grabs it and surges towards the line. A couple of Argentina players go in high to try and drag him down, but Nonu's strength carries him over.

CONVERSION! New Zealand 18-6 Argentina (Dan Carter)

Carter puts a couple of misses behind him to add the two extra points, curling the ball back in from the left to leave New Zealand 12 points up at half time.

HALF TIME: New Zealand 18-6 Argentina

So, at half time it's the defending champion who are comfortably in front in the opening match of the Rugby Championship, leading Argentina 18-6 thanks to tries from Richie McCaw and Ma'a Nonu. Argentina have shown good intent on the attack, but have had to settle for a couple of penalties from Nicolas Sanchez so far.

Sonny Bill Williams and Waisake Naholo also had a big impact in the first 40 minutes. Williams has been dominating in the middle, offloading the ball out wide on a number of occasions, while Naholo's pace has been too much for the visitors.

Argentina need to get the ball to Jeronimo de la Fuente is they're to get back into this match. The centre looked sharp in the opening couple of minutes as he used his speed and excellent footwork to beat a couple of New Zealand players, but has been pretty much anonymous since.

The players are starting to make their way back out ready for the second half in Christchurch.

RESTART! Nicolas Sanchez gets the match back underway.

MISSED PENALTY! A hard hit from Creevy gives New Zealand an early chance to increase their lead. Carter lines the line up almost in line with the posts, but it's from inside New Zealand's territory, and the distance proves too much.

TRY! New Zealand 23-6 Argentina (Charles Piutau)

A quick break led by Sonny Bill Williams leaves Piutau with the ball on the left flank, and he gives between Herrera and Carizza to add New Zealand's third try of the match.

CONVERSION! New Zealand 25-6 Argentina (Dan Carter)

Carter has missed a couple from out wide in this match, but he's got his eye in now as his conversion glides over to extend the All Blacks' advantage to 19 points. Argentina will surely have to make changes shortly.

NO TRY! Waisake Naholo is almost over for a fourth New Zealand try as an offload from Williams again leaves him looking for the corner. Creevy tries to force him into touch, and he's just forced his foot over the line to prevent the score.

Argentina get the ball back from a scrum, and look to string together a run of passes for the first time since the restart, but Cubelli loses it to hand possession back to the hosts from just a couple of metres out.

TRY! New Zealand 30-6 Argentina (Kieran Read)

Kieran Read benefits from Argentina's fumble, collecting the ball in plenty of space to sprint over.

CONVERSION! New Zealand 32-6 Argentina (Dan Carter)

After Carter adds the extras, New Zealand instantly steal the ball back in the middle, with Perenara stripping the ball away from Cubelli.

Argentina are awarded a penalty, which they kick for a lineout to move them into a dangerous position inside New Zealand territory for the first time in this half. Bosch and Agulla try to work their way down the right, before forcing a penalty which takes them inside the 22. Argentina will be hoping to secure their first points of the second half from this move.

TRY! New Zealand 32-11 Argentina (Agustin Creevy)

Argentina captain Agustin Creevy scores an almost identicaly try to McCaw's in the first half, bursting over in the corner following a well-taken lineout, dodging a tackle from Kaino as he went over.

MISSED CONVERSION! Nicolas Sanchez misses for the first time this evening, scuffing his conversion attempt to the right of the near post to leave the Pumas on 11.

Argentina seem to be coming alive as the final 20 minutes of this match approach, bearing down on the New Zealand 22 again. The hosts are penalised for collapsing the scrum, giving Argentina a penalty, which they use to set up another lineout in a similar position to the one that gave them a try a few minutes ago.

TRY! New Zealand 32-16 Argentina (Agustin Creevy)

The lineout from the same position yields the same result for the same man as Agustin Creevy squeezes over for a second try in just five minutes. Is the Argentina comeback on?!

CONVERSION! New Zealand 32-18 Argentina (Nicolas Sanchez)

Sanchez makes no mistake with the conversion this time, firing it right through the middle to cut the cap to 14 points. What a remarkable turnaround from the Pumas.

A kick out from the back by Argentina is straight at Carter, who in turn finds Perenara and Piutau, but Montoya claims it back. McCaw thinks he has it back, setting up Codie Taylor for his first international try, but the referee isn't happy with the New Zealand captain's pass, so calls it back for an Argentina try.

Argentina swarm around the home players as they inch towards the try line again, eventually giving away a scrum. The All Blacks get a penalty and go for a quick penalty, but it comes to nothing.

While there's a brief pause as Argentina make a couple of replacements, here's a look at the New Zealand side doing their Haka ahead of kickoff:


NO TRY! TJ Perenara leaps over as New Zealand wheel an Argentina scrum just short of the try line, but the referee insists that there was a change of position, so doesn't award the five points.

TRY! New Zealand 37-18 Argentina (Codie Taylor)

The youngster only came off the bench a few minutes back, but Codie Taylor has already marked his debut with a try as McCaw wins the ball from an Argentina lineout, bundling it into the hands of Taylor to set him up for the score.

CONVERSION! New Zealand 39-18 Argentina (Dan Carter)

A knock on during the restart soon gives Argentina a scrum. New Zealand use their superior strength to reclaim possession though, before Ellis and Piutau try to patiently work their way back into Argentina territory.

New Zealand still have time to find a sixth try of the match, but Argentina are trying to keep possession to make sure that doesn't happen. They have a lineout on the halfway line, and get a chance as Cubelli shows amazing pace to charge towards the line, but the ball comes loose.

FULL TIME: New Zealand 39-18 Argentina

The ball is kicked into touch to seal New Zealand's 37th straight home win, keeping them unbeaten in Christchurch since 1998. The scoreline is also enough to give the defending champions a bonus point as they push for a fourth straight Rugby Championship title.

When looking at these stats, it's easy to see why it was such a comfortable match for New Zealand:


So, that's all from this match, but join us again tomorrow for details of Australia's opening match of the tournament again South Africa. Until then, thanks for joining me this morning. Goodbye.

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Chris Robshaw of England tackles Israel Dagg of New Zealand during the QBE International match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium on November 16, 2013
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Result: New Zealand edge out England
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