Cory Jane led the backline's exclusive try-scoring onslaught with a treble against a game, though outgunned Argentina, but Julian Savea was far from outshone on the other wing, as he continues to display the damaging qualities of All Blacks' legend Jonah Lomu.
Savea, the five-test rookie, always had plenty to live up to in his own right after launching his test career with a hattrick against the Irish in Auckland; he was found out under the high ball the following week and spent time doing remedial work rather than playing until his offensive threats proved irresistible once the Rugby Championship entered its final phase.
He touched down against Los Pumas in Wellington on September 8 and terrorised the home side at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata again yesterday as his power, pace and dimensions helped the All Blacks to a 54-15 triumph which maintains their unbeaten record in a new competition where the trophy will on be on display, rather than be available, in Johannesburg next Sunday (NZT).
Savea's pace, strength and spatial awareness enabled him to dive into the left hand corner and later, when an Argentine back move broke down on halfway, he twice booted the ball down field before reaching it just inside the dead ball line.
His ability to finish opportunities is unquestioned, so it was his creative abilities that stood out after halftime when Jane scored the second leg of his hattrick.
Savea's line and offload were instrumental in Jane continuing his try-scoring form as the All Blacks secured a four-try bonus point for the first time this in the tournament.
"We trained it all week, both of us ran those lines, and we kept dropping the ball," Jane said.
"So to get the pay-off by him catching it making a break, it was good that it worked come game time."
Jane, an automatic choice on the right flank, was impressed with his Hurricanes teammate and reckoned his development would continue on a fast track.
"He's playing well. When he gets the ball in his hands and goes into contact he's a big fella, he makes a lot of gains, a bit more than me in contact," Jane said.
Savea revealed a ruthless streak when pouncing on a loose ball and hoofing it to the goal line from halfway, as Argentina paid the price attempted to break the shackles rather than rely on a kick-centric, forward dominated strategy.
"Credit to them," the 36-cap wing said.
"They've come into this competition and they're confident. It shows in the way they're willing to learn, they're willing to try things. It might not have come off but they're showing progress."
Meanwhile, it was back to basics for the All Blacks after a tardy previous outing against the Springboks in Dunedin and that approach achieved the desired result.
"We talked about being simple all week. Forwards and backs running the right lines, getting over the gain line for a good clean out," Jane said.
"They had a big step up from previous weeks. Obviously the Pumas and South Africans have big forward packs, but I think our boys played well."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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