All Blacks: TJ Perenara not distracted by 50th test, championship win

Personal milestones come and go, but All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara hasn’t had time to enjoy his 50th appearance in the national team against Argentina.

His mind has already turned to the next challenge looming large for New Zealand in Pretoria next week.

Perenara was given the start in Sunday morning's hard-fought 35-17 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires, helping the All Blacks secure their third straight Rugby Championship crown.

His recent form has him challenging teammate Aaron Smith for the number nine jersey on a full-time basis, but none of those things seemed important to the Hurricanes half right now.

"Once we sit down and the emotion of the game is gone, I'll probably reflect a little bit," he told Newshub.

"But we go out and play this game, and we're so focused on the next job - winning games and being the best footy players we can be - that I'm not sure we have time to reflect on things we've achieved.

"We've finished that game now, but my mind's not thinking about my 50th game - it's thinking about Pretoria and trying to right a wrong from a couple of weeks ago."

Perenara came off the bench in the 36-34 loss to South Africa in Wellington, but could not quite spark his team to a comeback victory. That obviously still annoys him and his mates, and the competition win won't be complete without redressing that setback.

"That will be part of the motivation, knowing that they beat us a couple of weeks ago," he said. "It's disappointing and it hurts.

"But I think our major motivator is that we want to be better than we were the week before. That game we just performed out there, if we're not better next week and we don't improve on what we've done tonight, that's a failure for us.

"We need to be growing, day to day, week to week."

That mentality provides some insight into what makes this All Blacks side great - ranked number one in the world and winners of the last two World Cup tournaments.

"It's a weird feeling, actually," he admitted. "We just won the Rugby Championship, scored some good tries and defended a very good Argentinian team.

"But there are some tired and sore bodies afterwards. We will enjoy the achievement tonight, but we're onto the next job."

Perenara wasn't surprised to see his Hurricanes colleague Beauden Barrett bounce back from a display that many blamed for the Springboks defeat. Barrett's goal-kicking, in particular, was off the mark on that occasion and he hit the upright with a conversation that would have tied the scores with five minutes remaining.

Against Argentina, he was a perfect five-from-five with his conversion attempts.

"People try to pick out good and bad things from people's performances," said Perenara. "I thought 'Bas' played great in Wellington.

"He obviously missed a couple of kicks that he would be disappointed with, but he came out here and kicked 100 percent tonight. That's the type of character he is.

"He doesn't read too much into the hype and what critics say - he just goes out there and does his job. Every now and then, he's not going to kick all his kicks, but that's part of being a goal-kicker."


Join us at 4am next Sunday for live updates of the All Blacks vs South Africa Rugby Championship clash in Pretoria.