Carter and Hamilton combine to keep out hungry Pumas

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Argentina ran New Zealand close in Buenos Aires yesterday, losing 25-19 after leading 16-15 at half-time.

True to experience - every time the major powers give the Pumas a game they get a major fright, and thus a performance proving Argentina's case for Tri- or Six Nations inclusion ends up making it much less likely - Federico Todeschini's boot and a try from the flanker Martin Durand had to be cancelled out by a Scott Hamilton try, Carter's kicking and 15 minutes of determined defence. Carter and Leon MacDonald scored first-half tries.

The All Blacks now prepare for an extended Tri-Nations, playing South Africa and Australia three times each. The Pumas' next meaningful matches are in Europe in November.

On Saturday, in Perth, Australia beat Ireland 37-15. Ronan O'Gara and Neil Best scored tries for the Irish, the former adding a conversion and a penalty. Chris Latham, Mark Gerrard, Greg Holmes, Cameron Shepherd and George Gregan scored the Wallabies' tries, Stirling Mortlock kicking 12 points.

In Cape Town, France beat South Africa 36-26. Vincent Clerc, twice, Cédric Heymans and Damien Traille scored tries for the northern hemisphere's only winning side this summer, with Dimitri Yachvili's boot backed up by drop goals from Traille and Florian Fritz.

Brent Russell scored a try and Percy Montgomery kicked seven penalties for the Springboks.