ALL Black power rode rough-shod over Argentinian aggro at Jade Stadium tonight with the Anton Oliver led New Zealand
pack paving the way for an impressive 10 try, 67-19 victory over a tough Puma XV.
Despite early ruffles at scrum-time the All Black eight took control of the ball from the outset and with the hardened
Puma front-row failing to dominate, as they hoped, the New Zealanders soon began to asset their superiority.
Tana Umaga was the first to benefit from his forward's surging drives when he crossed the opening score. And even at
this stage, despite valiant Argentinian efforts, it was apparent the men in black were looking forward to an
With Norm Maxwell ruling the lineout and the All Black defence forcing turnovers ample possession from phase to phase
saw strapping lock Troy Flavell charging, stag-like, with the ball in hand on several bullocking runs and his emergence
as a runner in the mode of Colin Meads re-incarnate will have Tony Gilbert licking his lips.
Another young All Black to shine was debutant No-8 Jerry Collins whose rugged no-nonsense 100 percent work-rate shone
brighter as the game wore on.
Unfortunately the saddest sight of the game was the wunderkind from Cannon's Creek being helped off with a painful
shoulder injury only to shrug off the pain to re-enter the fray only to break-down again to be replaced and face the
tragic of possibility of being out injured for the test against France in his Wellington home town next week.
Despite Collins demise the All Black's maintained their dominance and following Umaga's try the Jade crowd was treated
to further two five pointers from Pita Alatini and another to Taine Randell.
All these trys resulted from excellent phase to phase continuity featuring powerful surges, deft passes and jinky runs
that simply left the Pumas defence in their wake.
Resuming the half leading 29-14 the All Blacks still had to fully assert their authority but were soon to put the boot
to the throat after being inspired mid-way through the half by an ugly act of violence by Pumas loosehead Roberto Grau
who run in and kneed the in-form Flavell in the ribs sidelining him with a possible break.
Grau was sin-binned but the All Blacks were seething and turned up the power to end the half with six outstanding trys
Included among the All Blacks crossing the Puma line were Flavell's replacement the rangy Cantabrian Chris Jack;
tearaway openside Mary Holah; hard-running fullback Leon 'Rangi' MacDonald; pacy three-quarter Doug Howlett and Jeff
Wilson scored a brace to take his total to record equalling 42.
And while the superiority of the All Blacks was obvious the Pumas struggled hard for eighty minutes and that they were
so outclassed was a reflection on the calibre of the New Zealand effort rather than the weakness of the Argentine
After an away victory over the Springbok the French opposition next week is sure to be a class above the South Americans
and Wayne Smith will take heart from a very positive All Black display.
In addition to Collins and Flavell the skipper Oliver was outstanding as was half-back Justin Marshall while at centre
and lock Umaga and Maxwell proved their world class and if both can go on they will certainly be extremely influential
in harder games to come.