NEW ZEALAND 26 ARGENTINA 16
Rattled New Zealand captain Richie McCaw conceded his team would have to improve to win their third Rugby World Cup after they were given a huge scare by Argentina at Wembley yesterday.
A world record crowd for the tournament of more than 89,000 witnessed the powerful Pumas come from 9-0 down to take a shock 13-12 lead at half-time, thanks to a try from lock Guido Petti Pagadizabal.
The All Blacks hit back after the break, scrum-half Aaron Smith’s try restoring their advantage before Sam Cane touched down to settle nerves, but it was an ill-disciplined debut from the favourites.
“We’ll have to make a few improvements but that’s the nature of rugby,” said McCaw, one of two New Zealand players to be sin-binned in the first half.
“It’s been a while since our last game and we’ve been over here for 10 days or so, so we were itching to get out there and get started. I guess that’s what you expect first up. I thought that second half was a lot more clinical.”
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had little sympathy for McCaw and Conrad Smith’s yellow cards. “The two yellow cards today were pretty dumb,” he said. “Rich and Conrad know they were dumb and sometimes in the heat of the moment you have a wee brain explosion.”
Victory maintained the All Blacks’ unbeaten record in World Cup group fixtures, which they will be looking to extend when they play Namibia at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday. Argentina’s next Pool C outing is against Georgia on Friday in Gloucester.