Jane hat-trick as All Blacks claim inaugural title


Argentina 15 New Zealand 54:WINGER CORY Jane scored three of New Zealand’s seven tries as the All Blacks put in a world champion performance to beat Argentina 54-15 and lift the inaugural Rugby Championship title on Saturday. The other New Zealand winger, Julian Savea, also scored two tries in an open match in which the Pumas also crossed the All Blacks line twice, most notably with scrumhalf Martin Landajo’s opening try of the match.

A noisy 45,000 full house at the Etadio Unico were treated to some exciting running from both back lines with the All Blacks enjoying a clear edge when it came to slick handling and finishing.

New Zealand took their winning run to 15 since last year’s World Cup and travel to Johannesburg for their final match of the tournament next weekend against South Africa.

It was a return to regional dominance for the All Blacks, who won 10 of the 16 Tri-Nations titles but lost out to the Wallabies in last year’s final version of the competition before it was replaced to allow the addition of the Pumas.

“When we started out four or six weeks ago, the goal was to put last year behind us. Weve got the tag of being world champions and we needed to play like them,” All Blacks captain Richie McCaw told the post-match news conference.

“To secure the Rugby Championship was obviously the big goal and it’s nice to be able to do that, but I think tonight to put out that performance is something the guys are pretty happy about.”

Pumas’ Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, whose side face Australia in Rosario next week in their final match of the competition, admitted the home side had been well beaten. “We started well but we couldn’t control them. We made more mistakes than usual.”

Argentina, whose former prop Omar Hasan – now an opera singer – sung both anthems, showed their intent to run the ball at every opportunity and went ahead within nine minutes through Landajo’s try. But New Zealand hit back eight minutes later with the first try conceded by the Pumas in the first half of their championship matches when Aaron Smith touched down. Carter converted to put the All Blacks ahead and then put over a penalty for a 10-5 lead. The All Blacks then scored a second try through Jane, with Carter again converting.

Outhalf Hernandez and Carter exchanged penalties before a brief tale of two interceptions. First the Pumas snapped up a loose ball and moved play out right where wing Gonzalo Camacho dropped the ball to allow Savea to kick ahead, chase and touch down.

Savea scored his second try in the corner and, with Carter’s conversion, New Zealand went in at halftime 32-8 ahead. They never looked back despite a Camacho try and finished off in style with three more touchdowns from Jane (2) and Nonu.

ARGENTINA: L Gonzalez Amorosino; G Camacho, M Bosch, S Fernandez, H Agulla; JM Hernandez, M Landajo; R Roncero, E Guinazu, J Figallo; M Carizz, P Albacete; J Farias Cabello, JM Leguizamon, JM Fernandez Lobbe. Replacements: A Creevy, JP Orlandi, T Vallejos Cinalli, T Leonardi, N Vergallo, M Rodriguez Gurruchage, J Imhoff.

NEW ZEALAND: I Dagg; C Jane, C Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; D Carter, A Smith; T Woodcock, A Hore, O Franks; L Romano, S Whitelock; L Messam, R McCaw, K Read. Replacements: K Mealamu, C Faumuina, B Retallick, S Cane, P Weepu, A Cruden, B Smith.

Referee: J Peyper (South Africa).

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