Argentina have pulled off one of the upsets of the year with a historic 25-15 victory over the All Blacks in the Tri Nations clash at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney.
Argentina had never before beaten the All Blacks in the nations’ 29 previous matches with a 1985 draw the closest the side had come.
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The upset was on at halftime with Argentina leading 16-3 in the biggest ever lead by Argentina at halftime in a clash against the All Blacks.
An uncharacteristic performance from New Zealand put Argentina in the box seat and when Nicolas Sanchez kicked his sixth penalty of the afternoon, the game was all but over.
Argentina took a 16-3 lead to the break but it was the way the first half was played that was most surprising.
The normally unflappable All Blacks were stunned, giving away frustrated penalties.
There was plenty of feeling between the teams and it’s tough to blame them.
New Zealand have been in a COVID-19 bubble for some time, with the domestic season leading into a four-game Bledisloe Cup series against the Wallabies, while Argentina haven’t played in 402 days.
There was some energy to be used by the Argentinians.Source:Getty Images
After some early scuffles, referee Angus Gardner awarding New Zealand a penalty in defence, before reversing the call and giving the Kiwis a talking to after a slap from Dane Coles.
The referee explained: “The original penalty was for entry, by the Argentinian player and then your number two slapped him in the face so I’m reversing it. And I’m putting your number two on a warning I don’t want to see any more of it in this game. Go and have a word with him please, completely unacceptable.”
Former Wallaby Rod Kafer said it was a good call, adding “there’s been that many slaps out here, it’s unbelievable”.
The goal was missed but it didn’t take long for another penalty, with a more controversial moment.
Jordie Barrett was then penalised for a late tackle when he jumped for a charge down but couldn’t stop his momentum.
The Jordie Barrett penalty as the ref felt he could have pulled out.Source:FOX SPORTS
All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens was furious with the call.
“I think it’s a ridiculous decision,” he said. “Where’s the replay on the big screen that Angus Gardner can see? That’s absurd.”
Gardner then warned All Blacks skipper Sam Cane that it was becoming a discipline issue, with Mehrtens adding “that’s rubbish”.
“I’d like to see Gardner clean up his game as well, preaching to everyone,” Mehrtens added.
But the All Blacks went to the break down 16-3 with Argentina having kicked three first half penalty goals through fly half Nicolas Sanchez.
Early in the second half, the All Blacks won a line out and got just inside the 22 before a simple knock on from Jordie Barrett.
“That was sloppy. I can’t recall something so simple as that play being butchered so poorly by the All Blacks ever in my life,” Kafer said.
“It’s something we used to do in the under-10s.”
Even Mehrtens agreed it was “very unusual” to see New Zealand make a mistake like that.
The handling errors were killing the All Blacks as promising attacking raids ended in knock on.
Plenty of penalties but you can’t blame it all on referee Angus Gardner.Source:Getty Images
When Cane scored in the 52nd minute, it was looking like the beginning of the end for Argentina with New Zealand set to come home with a burst but the All Blacks couldn’t get the last pass play on target.
With eight minutes of time remaining, a pass from Hoskins Sotutu with Argentina short on the right side went to ground and into touch with substitute Damian McKenzie wide open.
Sanchez’s penalty goal wrapped up the game with Caleb Clarke forcing his way across the line.
Social media went nuts with historic boilover.
The All Blacks haven't lost two games in a row since 2011. Good Grief #NZLvARG
Royal Commission about to be launched in NZ.
The @AllBlacks have just lost 2 in a row…
This time to @lospumas 😳😳😳 #NZLvARG
They’ll be going into meltdown in New Zealand right now #NZLvARG
Hook every NZ media melt down piece straight into my veins #NZLvARG
This game has been immensely entertaining. Great passion & some great rugby. In fact, it's been so good, the ref wants to be remembered as having been a part of it. #NZLvARG
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