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NZ take another step towards Test record

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/10/2016 Angelo Risso

New Zealand's All Blacks captain Kieran Read lifts up the Rugby Championship trophy. © REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci New Zealand's All Blacks captain Kieran Read lifts up the Rugby Championship trophy. All Blacks skipper Kieran Read is predicting plenty of sore bodies after his side's bruising 36-17 victory over Los Pumas.

The world champions, having already secured the Rugby Championship, blew Argentina away late in the first-half to snare four tries in 13 minutes.

A closer second half ensued, primarily the result of prop Joe Moody and blindside flanker Liam Squire being sent to the sin bin..

However the All Blacks ultimately cruised to victory as Argentina struggled to break through against 14 men.

Read said Los Pumas had once again challenged his side following their rousing first-half display in Hamilton three weeks ago.

The All Blacks would now have to regroup in time for next week's clash with traditional foes South Africa in Durban.

A win against the Springboks will complete a perfect Rugby Championship campaign and push the side closer to the record for consecutive Test victories.

Wins in Durban and in the third Bledisloe Cup match in Auckland will secure the All Blacks an unprecedented 18 straight Test scalps.

They have not lost since their 2015 Rugby Championship decider in Sydney.

"The Argentinians are a great side and played really well tonight and made us work really hard, especially in the second half," Read said.

A stubborn Pumas defence kept the All Blacks tryless in the opening quarter before the world champions flicked the switch to pile on the points. Dane Coles fends off the Pumas © AP Dane Coles fends off the Pumas

Centre Anton Lienert-Brown barged over for a debut Test try in the 27th minute, before a poor Pumas lineout gifted Ryan Crotty a try five minutes later.

A pair of tries to hooker Dane Coles and No.9 TJ Perenara in the final two minutes of the half put the game to bed before the second stanza.

Fullback Ben Smith extended the lead in the 45th minute before a pair of Pumas consolation tries in the 57th and 76th minutes.

New Zealand's All Blacks TJ Perenara, right, is tackled by Argentina's Los Pumas Santiago Corderom  on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. © AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko New Zealand's All Blacks TJ Perenara, right, is tackled by Argentina's Los Pumas Santiago Corderom on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016.

Lienert-Brown, making just his second Test start, was a particular stand-out with a try and three assists.

The 21-year-old will now tussle with incumbent No.13 Malakai Fekitoa for a starting spot in Durban.

"It's just so cool to be out there with such a great team setting me up," the Chiefs young gun said.

First-five Aaron Cruden, ruled out of the match with a groin strain, was impressed by his Super Rugby teammate's performance.

His midfield versatility would prove an asset to the side.

"To play extremely well in both positions only bodes well for him," Cruden said.

"It was a very polished performance."

Fellow Chiefs livewire Damian McKenzie also earned game time at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani, coming on for his debut in the 48th minute.

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