New Zealand 26 Argentina 16 RWC 2015 player ratings: Marcus Ayerza outshines off-colour All Blacks but Pumas comes up short

Man-for-man marking from the Pool C clash Wembley Stadium

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The Independent Online

New Zealand had to fight back from a three-point half-time deficit to open the defence of their world crown with a 26-16 victory over Pool C rivals Argentina.

New Zealand quickly asserted their domination as fly-half Dan Carter landed three penalty kicks, and at this point the Pumas had barely woken up to make the Wembley showcase - in front of a World Cup record 89,019 crowd - anything nears a contest, with blindside flanker Pablo Matero sent tot he sin-bin after preventing a quick penalty.

But wake up they did as the South American side spurred into life, and they scored the first try of the match when second-row Guido Petti Pagadizaval went over from close range.

Soon enough, they were in the lead through a Nicolas Sanchez penalty, and worse was to come for the All Blacks as captain Richie McCaw was sent to the sin-bin where he was quickly joined by Conrad Smith as the reigning champions were reduced to 13. Carter added one more penalty before the break to bring the score back to 13-10.

Argentina were the first to add points after the break through another Sanchez penalty, but hat proved to be the final score of the game and New Zealand used their superior fitness levels to break down their Rugby Championship opponents and run in tries through scrum-half Aaron Smith and replacement Sam Cane. However, they were guilty of butchering three clear-cut chances to score, and will need to improve considerably if they are to retain their status as world champions.

 

So how did the players perform? Click on the gallery below to find out.

 

Do you agree with our ratings? let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.

 

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