On the same day that Beauden Barrett starred for the All Blacks with four tries and a stunning 30-point contribution to New Zealand’s Bledisloe Cup-clinching 40-12 victory over Australia, Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez also shone for Argentina as Los Pumas finally brought an 11-match losing run in The Rugby Championship to an end against South Africa in Mendoza.
Sanchez produced a ‘full house’, scoring one of Argentina’s four tries as well as kicking three conversions, a penalty and a drop goal in a 32-19 victory that helped make amends for last week’s 34-21 loss to the Springboks in Durban and also lifts Los Pumas above Fiji, into ninth, in the World Rugby Rankings.
Argentina raced into a 27-7 half-time lead at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas thanks to a quickfire double from Bautista Delguy and Sanchez’s effort in the 27th-minute. Ramiro Moyano went over for the fourth Argentine try shortly after the break before replacement Lionel Mapoe crossed twice to add to captain Siya Kolisi’s first-half try.
South Africa drop below Scotland into seventh place in the rankings as a result of losing 1.48 rating points, equalling their lowest position since the rankings were introduced in October 2003.
Meanwhile, in Auckland, Barrett displayed the sort of form that has seen him win the World Rugby Player of the Year Award for the last two years.
The Wallabies, just as last week, took the game to New Zealand in the first half and levelled the score at 7-7 courtesy of a Will Genia try, but tries from New Zealand in the final minutes of the first period and opening stages of the second killed off any hopes of a first Wallabies' win at Eden Park in 32 years.
Barrett crossed twice in each half with New Zealand’s other tries coming from Joe Moody and Liam Squire just after the break. Reece Hodge got a second for Australia in the 54th-minute but, by that stage, the All Blacks were running riot.
New Zealand and Australia’s ranking is unaffected by the result due to the large points differential between the world number one All Blacks and the Wallabies, ranked in fifth.
Like Sanchez, Paraguay fly-half Sergio Alvarenga used every method of scoring to contribute 23 points to Paraguay’s 45-36 defeat of Mexico in the opening match of the inaugural Americas Rugby Challenge.
The victory lifts Paraguay above Zimbabwe and into 37th place in the rankings.
Tournament hosts Colombia are also up on the rise, climbing three places to 40th, following their comprehensive 71-7 victory over Guyana in the second match on Sunday.
Los Tucanes fly-half Manuel Diosa was on course to eclipse the achievements of all the aforementioned fly-halves having bagged a first-half hat-trick and 26 points in total but was subbed off at half-time as Colombia rang the changes.
Guyana drop two places to 48th as a result of the defeat and the loss of 0.79 of a rating point.