New Zealand seal Rugby Championship title after crushing victory over Argentina
Last Updated: September 30, 2012 9:18am
Hat-trick hero Corey Jane is congratulated by his New Zealand team-mates
New Zealand sealed the inaugural Rugby Championship title with a crushing 54-15 victory over Argentina in La Plata.
Cory Jane grabbed a hat-trick of tries and fellow wing Julian Savea ran in two more, while Ma'a Nonu and Aaron Smith made it seven tries in total for the world champions.
The hosts scored two tries courtesy of Martin Landajo and Gonzalo Comacho but the Pumas were overwhelmed by their opponents over the course of the match.
Argentina had enjoyed a lively start to the game and scored the first try when full-back Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino ran into space before the ball was recycled for Landajo to race away and score in the eighth minute.
But the lead was short-lived as a quick throw from the sideline allowed Corey Jane to power forward before Nonu split the defence and played in scrum-half Smith under the posts.
In the 23rd minute Jane went over for his first try before Savea grabbed his double - the first a touchdown after his own kick ahead and the second a typical All Blacks move which flowed through several pairs of hands. Three conversions and two penalties from Dan Carter gave the visitors a commanding 32-8 lead at half-time.
Argentina started brightly again after the break and pulled a score back in the 47th minute when wing Comacho burst away from a ruck to score.
There was to be no comeback for the hosts, however, as Jane bagged his second three minutes later before Aaron Cruden, who kicked a penalty and two conversions, set up Nonu for the All Blacks' sixth try.
Jane added the icing on the cake in the last minute when he completed his treble as New Zealand took an unassailable lead in the four-team table with one match still to go.
The Pumas had shown a much greater willingness to run the ball than in the first clash between the two sides in Wellington as Amorosino and centre Marcelo Bosch impressed with ball in hand.
Fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez also registered 100 points in Tests with a 28th minute penalty but was outshone by his opposite number Carter.
Carter showed he was over his calf injury with a stunning break through the midfield early in the contest and his steadiness kept the pressure on the home side throughout.