Like the Wallabies in the matches preceding this clash, Argentina weren’t terrible. But they weren’t good enough for long enough against the world’s most clinical team to repel repeated waves of pressure.
The pressure started up front. With ball in hand, this was arguably the All Blacks’ best performance of the last month.
Every run crashed over the gain line and provided front-foot ball for Beauden Barrett and his backs.
Luke Jacobson’s try early in the second half put the result beyond all doubt.
It also showcased the incredible depth Foster has to work with.
Quick ball saw Barrett split the Argentinian line straight through the middle from about 40 metres out. After beating a few defenders through footwork and shear strength, the star playmaker threw an incredible flick pass to the young No. 8.
If Barrett wasn’t the best player on the ground, he was in the top two or three. Scarily, he isn’t even Foster’s first choice five-eighth.
The 39-point win was close to the perfect warm-up for two tournament-deciding clashes with the Springboks, which will begin in a fortnight.
The depth at Foster’s disposal has allowed him to leave superstar players at home to be with their pregnant partners, and he now knows who is capable of facing the world champion South Africans.
When the two teams meet at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium, it will be the match which stops the rugby world.
How primed the Springboks are for the tantalising clash will only be established after two Tests against the Wallabies, but the All Blacks are primed to stake a claim for South Africa’s mantle as the world’s best team.
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