Rugby Championship: All Blacks engulf the Cougars


When any rugby team scores three tries within the first 12 minutes and already leads 31-0 at halftime, the roosters can go crowing.

The All Blacks showed this in the packed Estadio Malvinas stadium in Mendoza on Saturday night when they overwhelmed the Argentine Pumas 41-12.

After the Springboks defeated the Wallabies 43-12 at Loftus Versfeld earlier in the day, the pressure mounted on the All Blacks to emulate the Boks.

The All Blacks reacted positively to that, scoring seven great tries and dominating the Cougars up front.

There were many good signs for the All Blacks, but now all attention shifts to the Mt Smart Stadium in New Zealand where the Springboks and All Blacks face each other this coming Saturday in the second round of the Rugby Championship.

The All Blacks’ backs were hot against the Cougars with playmaker Damian McKenzie (fly-half) pulling the strings. But can the All Blacks dare against the Springboks with a set-kicker who only hit the post with three out of seven attempts?

Are they not going to fall back on Beauden Barrett (he played at full-back against the Cougars) or Richie Mo’unga instead?

Up front, the All Black forwards crumpled up the Cougars and especially in the scrums.

But will it also be that easy against the Bokke?

It is already clear that scrums (and associated penalties) play a very big role at this year’s World Cup. Do the All Blacks really have props that can dominate and haven’t the Cougars just surrendered property?

Remember that the Cougars did not play like the New Zealanders in the Super Rugby Pacific series or like South Africa in the European series.

They therefore lack match practice at a high level.

What should also be in the Springboks’ favor is that a large group of players who will play against the All Blacks are already in New Zealand to prepare. In contrast, the All Blacks only fly home on Sunday (with a very big time difference).

While the Springbok coaches Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus will field a fresh team against the All Blacks, the All Black coach, Ian Foster, will force players like most of the three Barrett brothers (Beauden, Jordy and Scott), Rieko Ione, Aaron Smith, Sam Cane and Ardie Savea, who played against the Cougars, line up against the Boks.

But what do they say again? The proof is in the taste of the pudding.

Scores: New Zealand 41 (31): Tries: Dane Coles, Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Emoni Narawa. Goals: Damian McKenzie (3).

Argentina 12 (0): Tries: Julian Montoya, Agustin Creevy. Goal kick: Emiliano Boffelli.