The All Blacks have all but secured the Tri Nations title following a 38-0 bonus-point victory over Argentina in Newcastle.
Under immense pressure after successive defeats, the All Blacks delivered the required response in their final test of the year that ensures they will return home in a much more positive frame of mind.
Here’s how media from around the world saw it:
‘Pumas drained, emotionally spent’
By Phil Lutton, Sydney Morning Herald
“From the start, this looked to be a very different All Blacks beast than the one that was tamed a fortnight ago. The carries had venom and that poise and crispness in attack, for so long a hallmark of their play, was back in a big way.
“After such elation when they stunned the All Blacks a fortnight ago, the descent back to earth for the Pumas was rapid. This was the first time they have never scored a point against New Zealand and they looked drained and emotionally spent towards the end of the contest.”
A new superstar is born
Sam Worthington, Nine.com
“How easy is this Test rugby caper?
“For 66 minutes the All Blacks ground away against Argentina and built a solid lead without ever managing to open the floodgates.
“Enter Will Jordan – wearing No 23 no less – the Kiwi super-sub who you will be hearing a lot more from.
“In just his second Test appearance off the bench, the 22-year-old outside back scored his first try in the 67th minute when he pounced on a loose Pumas pass and scooted half the field.”
World melts for ‘classy’ Maradona tribute
Following the national anthem, which the Pumas and their fans belted out, the All Blacks got in position to do the traditional haka.
But first, Kiwis skipper Sam Cane presented a signed All Blacks jersey with the No. 10 on the back was presented in the memory of Maradona, who passed away this week following a heart attack just two weeks after being discharged from hospital for a bleed on his brain, with three days of national mourning declared in the country.
“A great sign of respect here from Sam Cane and the All Blacks,” New Zealand legend Andrew Mehrtens said in commentary.
Crazed panic to calm clarity
By Gregor Paul, NZ Herald
“The important thing about this crushing victory wasn’t necessarily the superb shift by Akira Ioane, the ball-carrying thump and set-piece work of the props or the magical contribution from Will Jordan. It was the control, the discipline and the patience.
“All the untidy and unconvincing rugby that the All Blacks played in their previous two tests wasn’t of itself the generator of the nation’s angst.
“It was the fact it was underpinned – caused even – by a sort of crazed panic that had everyone wondering whether these All Blacks had the maturity to play with the sort of calm and clarity that has defined their best teams.
“There was none of that wildness on view in Newcastle. This was a different sort of performance all together – one where there was cohesion and a sense of confidence, a real feeling that this young team learned an awful lot in consecutive defeats.”
‘Foster can take deep breath’
By Liam Napier, NZ Herald
“A definitive, statement performance that rectified all the wrongs this was not.
“It did, however, prove the All Blacks’ ability to learn and adapt. It also pushes the All Blacks to the top of the Tri Nations ladder, five points ahead of the Pumas and Wallabies, with a dominant advantage on points differential – 92 ahead of Argentina, and 100 ahead of Australia. The Pumas and Wallabies meet in the final clash next week.
“Two weeks after losing to the Pumas for the first time the All Blacks were a totally different beast, scoring five tries that allows under-fire head coach Ian Foster to take a big deep breath over the summer to reassess.”
‘It’s tough on Argentina’
All Blacks coach Ian Foster
“It’s been an immensely difficult year for everyone,” Foster, who came under immense scrutiny after the All Blacks dropped successive tests for the first time in nine years, said.
“I feel for Argentina they’ve been over here a long time with the commitment they’ve shown.
“A fortnight ago we’d just played our fifth test in six weeks and it was tough. You saw Argentina play their third test in three weeks and it’s tough. There’s been a lot of challenges for all the teams.
“For us there will still be a few niggly hurt moments, particularly the loss to Argentina, but at least we had a chance to fix it; to show that we can play, that this group is developing. We’ve got a bit more to go, we’re clear about that, but it’s a better way to finish.”
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