All Blacks hold out Pumas in Buenos Aires

The Rugby Championship
AAP
by AAP

The All Blacks have survived a wobbly second half display to beat Argentina 20-16 in an error-riddled Rugby Championship Test in Buenos Aires.

An under-strength New Zealand side fully deserved their 20-9 halftime lead on Sunday (AEDT) but their execution deteriorated after the break, allowing the Pumas a sniff at their first win over the world champions.

The hosts launched two attacking lineout drives in the dying moments to the backdrop of deafening crowd support at Jose Amalfitani Stadium but couldn't force the try that would have bagged a first victory in 29 meetings between the nations.

Argentina won the second half 7-0 through a try to fullback Emiliano Boffelli, one of 21 Jaguares players in their 23-man team.

Dominant in the second spell, they were let down by numerous errors themselves on attack, committing 18 turnovers for the match to New Zealand's 25.

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It was an uncomfortable opening to World Cup year for an All Blacks team missing a number of first-choice players from the Super Rugby champion Crusaders, who were resting in New Zealand.

They named five uncapped players and fielded four of them, including starting winger Sevu Reece.

Coach Steve Hansen wasn't afraid to inject debutants Braydon Ennor, Luke Jacobson and Atu Moli off the bench when the outcome was on the line.

Argentina led 6-0 through penalty goals before inside centre Ngani Laumape powered over following a quick tap from the All Blacks.

Pumas five-eighth Nicolas Sanchez and counterpart Beauden Barrett exchanged penalties before a decisive try to Brodie Retallick on the stroke of halftime.

The New Zealand lock plucked an intercept pass thrown by Sanchez on the halfway line and cantered 50m in a cruel blow to the hosts.

Argentina were a different beast after the break, growing in belief when Boffelli plucked Sanchez's bomb out of Ben Smith's arms.

It was the closest Argentina have come to toppling the All Blacks since a 24-20 loss in Buenos Aires 18 years ago.

RESULT

Argentina 16

Tries: Boffelli

Cons: Sanchez 

Pens: Sanchez 2, Boffelli

New Zealand 20

Tries: Laumape, Retallick

Cons: B Barrett 2

Pens: B Barrett 2