New Zealand is now clear atop the Rugby Championship after the All Blacks defeated Argentina 39-22 and South Africa was held to a 23-23 tie by Australia in round three on Saturday.
The Wallabies and Springboks went back and forth all day in Perth, Australia. With the score 3-3, South Africa got a try from a kick and chase that needed referee Glen Jackson to check the replay for a possible penalty. But Australia came back with a wild cutback run from Kurtley Beale.
Australia took the lead 20-13 on a superb maul, only to see the Springboks reply with a 19-meter maul right down the Aussies' throats. Both teams kicked one more penalty, but it ended in a tie.
Meanwhile, New Zealand is now 3-0 after its victory over visiting Argentina in New Plymouth. The Pumas didn't back down, even with a younger squad for this game, and in fact Argentina led 16-15 at halftime.
But in the final 20 minutes, the All Blacks ramped it up. New Zealand took the lead eight minutes into the second half after a rollicking run from Vaea Fifita got things started and Damian McKenzie set up Nehe Milner-Skudder. But penalties dogged the All Blacks, and with Nicolas Sanchez kicking well, the teams were tied 22-22 with a quarter of the game to go. However, tries from Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown put the game away for New Zealand.
Australia 23Tries: Beale, Polota-Nau
Convs: Foley 2
Pens: Foley 3
South Africa 23Tries: Kriel, Marx
Convs: Jantjies 2
Pens: Jantjies 3
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Curtis Rona
South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende
New Zealand 39Tries: Lienert-Brown, Milner-Skudder, Dagg, Fifita, McKenzie, Barrett
Convs: Sopoaga 3
Argentina 22Try: Sanchez
Cons: Sanchez 2
Pens: Sanchez 2, Boffelli 2
Drop Goal: Sanchez
New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Ngani Laumape
Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Benjamin Macome, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera Paz
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto Heilan, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Matias Orlando