The halftime black-out and Argentina's courageous defence were the most memorable events of the All Blacks 21-5 win in a wet and windy Wellington.
Even the purists will struggle to find satisfaction in a Rugby Championship match that never really got out of first gear in difficult conditions.
The tourists will take satisfaction from another respectable scoreline, one forged on a defence that lived up to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen pre-match description as one of the best in the world.
The All Blacks inaccuracies of their two Bledisloe Cup outings continued, though they eventually managed two tries to wings Julian Savea and Cory Jane.
There will be some concern that chances were again blown through poor handling, but the Pumas were no push-overs.
It took the sinbinning of blindside Julio Cabello for deliberately knocking down a Jane pass, that would have certainly led to a try in the 59th minute, to break their challenge.
To that point they had absorbed almost everything the All Blacks had thrown at them and trailed just 9-5, veteran prop Rodrigo Roncero having scored the only try after 12 minutes.
With a man down the All Blacks finally found the final pass with Ma'a Nonu unselfishly passing on the line to give his Oriental Rongotai club mate Savea his fourth try and his team a 14-5 lead with 15 minutes to play.
The overlap was exploited again when Jane scored out wide and by the time the tourists were restored to their full complement it was game over.
The biggest cheer of the night went up when the stadium power cut off during the halftime break, a mishap that stretched the normal ten-minute interval to 27.
It probably had little effect on a match that at time resembled to boxers with incompatible styles trading blows.
Few players shone, but All Blacks centre Conrad Smith was among the best as he straightened the attack and tried his best to create chances that usually ended in frustration.
Savea and Nonu both grew into the match with some strong running in the second spell and Richie McCaw was as busy as always, but momentum was never really achieved.
Blindside Victor Vito probably didn't take his chance to grab the No 6 jersey with any conviction during the stop-start first half and was replaced by Liam Messam three minutes after the break.
By then the rain had stopped and the wind dropped drastically, but the Pumas had not given up.
In No 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, lock Manuel Carizza and Roncero they had three tough roosters and in first five eighth Juan Martin Hernandez a pivot who stood out for both his hard tackling and tactical nous.
Roncero received the hugs and kisses of a champion when he took a seat with half an hour to go, but there is unlikely to be such celebrations in the All Blacks changing room where prop Charlie Faumuina might be the most satisfied man after making his test debut in the 73rd minute.
Kiwi advisor Graham Henry wasn't in the Pumas' box, but the visitor's had done their homework. In defence they targeted the man second out from the ruck rather than the first receive.
When Luke Romano tried to move the ball on to Owen Franks in the opening quarter the tight head prop was met by three blue and white tacklers.
And the Pumas ruffed up halfback Aaron Smith at every opportunity.
Conditions meant the first half was never going to produce champagne rugby, but the All Blacks might regret their decision to plow on with their plans to play a wide game.
Though the skill level was high during a hectic first 10 minutes, there was always going to be an element of risk.
It was little surprise when Nonu spilled the ball in blindside Julio Cabello's tackle trying to set up a ruck in his 22.
The Pumas didn't miss their chance moving the ball wide before Roncero burrowed through Vito's tackle for the opening try in the 13th minute.
The wide game was what the All Blacks had trained, and so they gave it every chance to work despite the conditions.
But their frustration would only grow during a first half that saw the Pumas dictate the pace of the game.
The fumbles and inability to finish that marked their efforts against he Wallabies in Sydney and Auckland returned, including simple drops by McCaw and Aaron Cruden, who didn't produce his Super Rugby flair.
The visitors were content to slow the pace of the game to suit their needs and using clever low grubber kicks to turn around the All Blacks back three.
A misfiring lineout wasn't helping their cause, but their tackling was accurate and committed.
There was a memorably thunderous double tackle including Roncero that left Savea with a leg injury that dogged him till the break.
But Argentina's commitment was best summed up by a brilliant try saver just before halftime when centre Marcelo Bosch took a charging Victor Vito down short of the corner flag.
The All Blacks had regained the lead with a second Cruden penalty on 25 minutes, but by that stage they were under no illusion they were trying to crack a particularly hard nut.
In the end it took a yellow card with 20 minutes to go to finally break the resistance.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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