Sportal.co.nz 07.Sep.2013Getty Images
Twice, at vital stages of the game, Read demonstrated his handling skill, vision and patience in creating two tries, this in spite of difficult conditions caused by drizzle throughout the game.
The first, when the All Blacks were 3-7 down saw him slip a sweet pass behind a defender to put halfback Aaron Smith in at the corner for a try.
Then, 13 minutes into the second half when the Pumas had crept back to 13-18 down he charged down an attempted clearing kick, gathered the ball and took flight for the goal-line.
He was dragged down short but the ball was spun superbly across the All Blacks backline, even moreso given the slippery conditions – drizzle fell throughout the game - and left wing Julian Savea crossed for the perfect try.
But if Read warranted praise, hard-tackling Richie McCaw and hard-running Steven Luatua, whose rapid rise continued, were not far behind. However, McCaw suffered a severe looking injury in the 59th minute and limped from the ground.
However, the demands of the game insisted the All Blacks loose men produced that sort of response in reply to the efforts of their hard-bitten opposites.
Captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe gave a graphic demonstration of why he is such an inspirational leader to his side, chasing forever in the loose and hitting the clean out areas hard. However, he was lucky to survive a jersey pull on Saili with six minutes of the game left.
No.8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon was a tough customer off the back of an often outstanding Pumas scrum, and he was superb in support to score the opening try, although the All Blacks could claim the first tighthead of the night.
Setback by an initial mistake resulting in a try to Argentina, New Zealand dominated the ball subsequently and while first five-eighths Dan Carter missed two early kicks at goal he did land one, to become the first past 1400 Test points, and he had no hesitation in taking the ball to the line.
In the 23rd minute that ploy had a double consequence. Hooker Eusebio Guinazu was ruled to have committed a professional foul and was sin-binned.
New Zealand kicked to the corner and from the lineout drive, No.8 Kieran Read emerged off the back of the maul, charged around the blindside and flicked a miracle ball behind the Pumas defender and found halfback Aaron Smith on the sideline to touch down.
Three minutes later Carter opened another gap and raced 40m downfield and went to ground. But from the maul the ball was cleared for flanker Steven Luatua, who appeared to relish the confrontational nature of the Argentine clean-out work around the breakdown area, to link with wing Ben Smith. He centre-kicked and in the failure of the Pumas defenders to control the ball it was Aaron Smith who touched down for his second.
Argentina capitalised on a long pass from Carter to debut second five-eighths Francis Saili who dropped it cold. Prop Juan Figallo picked up the ball and it was quickly transferred to No.8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon who was unchallenged to score.
Argentina were always likely to come up with mistakes at crucial times. They kicked straight into touch to start the game, and then dropped the kick-off to start the second.
New Zealand 28 (Aaron Smith 2, Julian Savea tries; Dan Carter 2 con, 2 pen; Beauden Barrett pen) Argentina 13 (Juan Manuel Leguizamon try; Nicolas Sanchez con, 2 pen). HT: 15-10