Pile into the ruck with Rugby Union tips as Argentina aim for a second straight Tri-Nations upset of the All Blacks.
19:45 (AEDT), Sat 28th Nov @ McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
History: Played 30: New Zealand 28 V Argentina 1 (1 Draw)
Last meeting: November 14, 2020: Argentina 25 d New Zealand 15 at BankWest Stadium
Final Thoughts: Argentina have turned the Tri-Nations on its head over the past fortnight. But a chastened All Blacks side represents a new challenge for Pablo Matera and his inspirational charges.
The Pumas stunned the All Blacks 25-15 in Sydney, despite not having played a competitive match since the 2019 World Cup. It was the rank outsiders’ maiden win over world rugby’s perpetual superpower, achieved on the back of a titanic defensive display.
Nicolas Sanchez scored all 25 of Argentina’s points, including his fourth try from the nations’ last six Test encounters. New Zealand were disjointed, impatient and ill-disciplined. Faced with the Pumas’ passionate resistance, they lacked punch and ideas on attack.
Argentina backed up that watershed result with a 15-all draw against Australia in Newcastle. Down 15-6, the tourists clawed back gallantly through three penalties from superboot Sanchez in the last 16 minutes.
All Blacks stick solid
The under-siege All Blacks are seeking to avoid three straight Test losses for the first time 1998. They went down 24-22 to the Wallabies in Brisbane a week before their earth-shattering defeat to the Pumas.
But coach Ian Foster has resisted major changes to his line-up. The backline is unchanged, while Akira Ioane, Scott Barrett and Nepo Laulala return to the starting pack for Shannon Frizell, Patrick Tuipolotu and Tyrel Lomax respectively.
New Zealand are $1.09 favourites to gain retribution over Argentina. Whether the Pumas can get themselves up for a third straight week is perhaps the biggest question mark – and another boilover result against the ABs would be just as big a surprise as the first.
But if they turn up with the same defensive resolve and overall commitment, Argentina are the team to back with a hefty start. Plenty of value in the under, too, with the rivals’ last two Tests producing 40 points or less.