New Zealand struggled significantly in a tough opening World Cup fixture against Argentina, but eventually triumphed 26-16 over their Pool C rivals.
However, Argentina's strong defensive performance prevented the All Blacks from achieving a bonus point in a group stage game; the first time that has ever happened since the introduction of bonus points in 2003.
Richie McCaw and Conrad Smith both received yellow cards in a tense first half in which New Zealand failed to break down Argentina's defence. A try from Petti Pagadizabal helped put Argentina 13-12 ahead at the break.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
New Zealand came out strong in the second half and put the Pumas under constant pressure for the remaining 40 minutes. Although Argentina were able to hold them off initially, the skill of the All Blacks eventually won out. Scrum-half Aaron Smith scored the first New Zealand try on 56 minutes before Sam Cane scored to finish off the contest.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said after the game that his captain McCaw had a "brain explosion" when he tripped Argentinian Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe in the first half, earning himself a ten-minute sin-binning.
The match was watched by 89,019 fans at Wembley, a new record for the tournament.
Long way to go
There is still a long way to go in the pool stage before New Zealand or Argentina can be certain of their fates. Both teams will have to play Tonga, Georgia and Namibia over the coming weeks, all of whom are ranked considerably lower.
Georgia currently lie second in Pool C, also on four points, after beating Tonga 17-10 on Saturday. Tonga secured a losing bonus point, for losing by seven or fewer points, and so currently lie third ahead of Argentina and Namibia who are yet to play.
The winners of Pool C will face the runners-up in Group D, which includes Ireland, France and Italy, whilst the Pool C runners-up will face the Group D winners in the Quarter Finals.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms