Rugby Championship: New Zealand win first title


New Zealand clinched seven tries to defeat Argentina 54-15 and win the first ever Rugby Championship trophy. Martin Landajo's try put the South American Pumas into an early lead but Cory Jane ran in a hat-trick of tries for the All Blacks. Winger Julian Savea added a couple of tries while Aaron Smith and Ma'a Nonu also scored as the visitors wrapped up the title with a game to spare. New Zealand play their final match next weekend against South Africa, who beat Australia 31-8 earlier on Saturday. The victory means the All Blacks have now extended their winning streak since last year's World Cup to 15 matches.

"We've got the tag of being world champions and we needed to play like them," said Richie McCaw. "To secure the Rugby Championship was obviously the big goal and it's nice to be able to do that, but to put out that performance is something the guys are pretty happy about."

Argentina drew first blood as they scored the first try when scrum-half Landajo picked up Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino's pass to dart between two players and touch down. But Aaron Smith and Jane soon hit back with a try for New Zealand, with Dan Carter converting to pull the world champions ahead. When Gonzalo Camacho dropped the ball, Savea pounced, kicking it ahead before touching down. He added a second soon aftewards to give New Zealand a 32-8 lead at half-time. There was better luck for Camacho after the break as he scurried over Argentina's second try but New Zealand exercised their dominance, with tries from Jane and Nonu sealing the win.

"It was one our best performances of the season," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. "The manner we did it was very satisfying. "To be able to attack like that, you have to have a platform and the forwards played very well."

In Pretoria, South Africa beat Australia 31-8 earlier on Saturday. Victory for South Africa lifted them into second place on 12 points behind champions New Zealand.

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