Rugby Championship
Try-machine Julian Savea tames Pumas
September 6, 2014
All Blacks' wing Julian Savea breaks through an Argentina tackle to crash over for his second try, New Zealand v Argentina, Rugby Championship, McLean Park, Napier, September 6, 2014
Julian Savea crashes over for his second try against the Pumas in Napier © Getty Images

One would expect a player who has scored 26 tries in 25 Tests to know how many times he has dotted down.

Not Julian Savea.

The powerhouse winger crossed the stripe twice in the All Blacks' 28-9 win over Argentina on a sodden McLean Park, but had to be told post-match how many career five-pointers he has chalked up.

"I honestly don't know - but now I do. It's awesome I guess. I'm just there finishing things off after the boys put in the work," the 24-year-old said.

But it was other aspects of his game that had assistant coach Ian Foster lauding the effort of the 106kg flyer, who now has seven tries in five games against the Pumas.

"It's really the other stuff that impresses us - his kick-chase game and his defence has improved dramatically and the last few games he's playing at the top of his game," Foster said.

Savea's brace and further tries to Liam Messam and Aaron Smith, while also keeping the Pumas from crossing the line, helped the All Blacks notch a bonus-point win.

"It took a very good defensive effort to keep them tryless," coach Steve Hansen said.

Argentina had what appeared to be a fair try to No. 8 Leonardo Senatore ruled out for a knock on that only French referee Pascal Gauzere spotted.

The converted try would have taken the Pumas to within five points of the hosts, but Argentina captain Agustin Creevy played it down after the match.

"There are things that happen in a game. Unfortunately the referee didn't see it," he said.

In steady drizzle, the hosts resorted to launching bombs and grubber kicks after failing to find a way through a resolute defensive line and their kicking game won the praise of coach Daniel Hourcade.

"A lot of people talk about the All Blacks moving the ball, but I think they are also the best team in the world in terms of kicking and perhaps that was the difference between the teams," he said.

The All Blacks came unstuck in the wet in Sydney to draw 12-12 with the Wallabies, but in Napier they showed they had learnt from the error of their ways.

"We were a little bit smarter especially in the way we started the game and perhaps the risk versus reward," said captain Richie McCaw.

"You've still got to back your skills when it is a bit damp - you don't want to go out there and play 10-man rugby.

"You need to get the balance right and for the most part we were pretty good with that."

The victory leaves New Zealand on top of the Rugby Championship table with 12 points after South Africa lost 24-23 to a last-gasp Wallabies try in Perth.

New Zealand 28-9 Argentina (Australia only)

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