OPINION: It wasn't pretty, but the All Blacks managed to survive a massive scare to beat Argentina 20-16 in their first test match of 2019.
The four-point defeat is the closest Argentina have come to toppling the All Blacks since a 24-20 loss in Buenos Aires 18 years ago.
- All Blacks overcome Argentina in Rugby Championship test
- As it happened: All Blacks v Argentina - Rugby Championship 2019
Coach Steve Hansen took a risk and left of his experienced players back in New Zealand, putting faith in some of his younger squad members, along with some rookies and the moves paid off.
Here's how the All Blacks rated in their first test of 2019:
1. Ofa Tuungafasi - 7
Fronted up well in the scrum.
2. Dane Coles - 6
Good at throwing the ball in at the lineout. Was sloppy at times, giving away a couple of penalties.
3. Angus Ta'avao - 7
The same as his fellow prop.
4. Brodie Retallick - 7
Scored a try off an intercept and rallied the troops home late as Argentina looked for the game-winning try.
5. Patrick Tuipulotu - 3
Like Fifita, he struggled to make the most of his chance in the black jersey. Crazy to think that the lock didn't win a single lineout during his time on the field.
6. Vaea Fifita - 2
Struggled and failed to make the most of his opportunity. According to the match stats, he didn't even make a single tackle in his 57 minutes on the field. He also gave away two penalties.
7. Sam Cane - 6
Made a game-high 12 tackles, but made two handling errors while the All Blacks were hot on attack. Great to see him back considering he fractured his neck last October.
8. Ardie Savea - 8
Another great night in the black jersey. Lots of strong carries, along with a couple of turnovers. It's a shame that he'll likely come off the bench next weekend against the Springboks.
9. Aaron Smith - 5
Played a role in the All Blacks' first try, but limited possession prevented the halfback from stamping his mark on the match.
10. Beauden Barrett - 8
There was a spring in his step in his first match since signing with the Blues. Had a perfect night off the tee. He broke the line a few times, but a combination of poor passing and lack of support runners meant they came to nothing. He also came up with a try-saving tackle in the second half.
11. Jordie Barrett - 3
Awful. In fairness, it was his first test on left wing, but he struggled, badly. Gave away an early penalty, made a couple of errors and kicked a ball out on the full. Maybe it was the headband?
12. Ngani Laumape - 7
Scored the first try of the game with a strong carry, which he made plenty of during the game. Fronted up on defence also.
13. Anton Lienert-Brown - 5
Overall, the midfielder had a quiet nice. Didn't have much involvement on attack but did make six tackles.
14. Sevu Reece - 7
Had a solid All Blacks debut and made the most of his opportunity. Made a couple of breaks, and came up with a massive try-saving tackle in the first half. Definitely put his hand up for the starting right-wing spot at the World Cup.
15. Ben Smith - 6
Wasn't involved much, but had some good runs with the ball. He was also beaten in the air by opposite fullback Emiliano Boffelli for the Pumas' lone try.
16. Liam Coltman - 3
Struggled to make an impact. Had two poor lineout throws which went astray.
17. Atu Moli -5
Did everything you want your props to do on the field.
18. Nepo Laulala - 5
Same as Moli.
19. Jackson Hemopo - 5
Didn't do anything wrong with his limited time on the field.
20. Luke Jacobson - 5
Made six tackles in the 20 minutes where he replaced Fifita. Brought some energy off the bench.
21. Brad Weber - 5
Didn't get many chances while on the field but great to see him back, four years after his first test.
22. Josh Ioane - N/R
Didn't get on the field
23. Braydon Ennor - 4
Played about 10 minutes. Had a couple of runs, but had a couple of turnovers and penalty go against him too.
Ben Francis is a Newshub online sports producer.
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