All Blacks smash Pumas to leave Wallabies with a ton of work to do


“It’s extremely satisfying,” said All Blacks skipper Sam Cane. “There’s no hiding we’ve had a tough three weeks now. We felt the pain of the loss, we’re proud of the work we’ve put in. I’m proud of the way we were able to stay patient and we got there in the end.

“There’s pressure, but that’s what playing for the All Blacks is all about. We’ve been really happy, very driven and have worked extremely hard to try and get better. We were a lot better tonight.”

From the start, this looked to be a very different All Blacks beast than the one that was tamed a fortnight ago. The carries had venom and that poise and crispness in attack, for so long a hallmark of their play, was back in a big way.

Ardie Savea breaks the shackles for the All Blacks with the first try of the second half.

Ardie Savea breaks the shackles for the All Blacks with the first try of the second half.Credit:Getty

It was difficult to see how their defence had reshaped given the Pumas barely had a touch in the first 15 minutes of play. Their line-out was coughing up ball and the All Blacks needed no added invitation to turn pressure into points, with Dane Coles diving over in the corner and Richie Mo’unga helping himself to a penalty to make it 10-0 after 16 minutes.

Caleb Clarke looked as if he would score for all money but couldn’t keep his feet with the line in sight after 23 minutes. Mo’unga had sliced through on the previous phase and Argentina needed all of their scrambling defence to deny New Zealand a second.

When they did get the ball, the attack threw little the men in black couldn’t handle, nor could the Pumas handle the ball themselves. With the All Blacks ultra-aggressive in defence and the hot conditions making for a slippery pill, the scales were starting to tip overwhelmingly towards New Zealand.

Yet for all of their territorial dominance and glut of possession, the All Blacks were struggling to add to the 10-0 lead as the clocked ticked towards half-time. And by the time the whistle was blown, Argentina were still showing a pulse in the Hunter.

Clarke botched one early in the second half when he couldn’t hold onto the short ball with the line just a metre away. Somehow Argentina were clinging on but the All Blacks continued to massacre their scrum and the scoreline was never going to remain static for much longer.

Ardie Savea simply smashed his way through the line-out set play and the All Blacks moved to a 17-0 lead, a margin far more befitting the manner in which the match had played out to that point.

Now it became about the pursuit of the bonus point, and Will Jordan was happy to oblige as he helped himself to his first Test try. The Pumas came up with a sloppy backline shift and the winger scooped it up to gallop away and score under the posts for a 24-0 lead.

He was at it again just a few minutes later and now things were just getting nasty. A mountain of defending was taking its toll and the All Blacks were scoring for fun. The only slight hiccup for the All Blacks was an 81st minute yellow card for Tyrel Lomax, who was marched for a clumsy clean-out.

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Local cricket stories, 24 off 4 to win, double ton in 65 balls, best local cricket innings, scores


Two remarkable innings have emerged from the weekend’s local cricket action in Victoria.

In the first, Geelong City captain Jack Driver was the hero, hitting four sixes when his team needed 21 runs off four balls to beat Bell Park in the GCA2 Firsts, reports the Geelong Advertiser.

The Sharks were 8-170 chasing 193 entering the final over, and it got even worse when Driver’s teammate Adam Marsland was bowled first ball.

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“I just said (to the next batter), ‘try and hit it so I can get down (the strikers) end’,” Driver told the Addy.

“There was probably two (runs in it) when he hit his and we just settled for one. I always thought if we needed 20 off the last over we could manage it and luckily the ball was where I wanted to hit it and I got a few out of the middle.”

Driver got on strike and hit sixes off the first two balls he faced, leaving nine off two to win.

He missed the next ball, but it was called wide by the substitute umpire – his teammate Tom Treble, who replaced the original umpire who had to be hospitalised after knocking himself out when trying to get in position for a run out.

Driver then hit two more sixes off Daniel Maclean to complete the remarkable win – but the vanquished opponents were good sports about it and drank with the victors afterwards.

“A few of (the Bell Park) guys just said it was good hitting and there was nothing they could do so it was just one of those games where it panned out for us and not for them,” Driver said.

“I’ll take a few drinks on the night but it’s only a game in November so hopefully it’s a building block for us to continue on for the rest of the season.”

Meanwhile Cheltenham Park’s Zac Rattray belted 208 off 65 balls, including 23 sixes with six of them in one over, in a demolition of Melbourne Dazzlers, reports the Moorabbin Kingston Leader.

20-year-old apprentice electrician Rattray notched up his first ever century off 35 balls and made it a double ton off the next 27 in the D-grade South East Cricket Association clash.

Cheltenham Park went on to score 6-424 off 38 overs while the Dazzlers could only reach 133.

“I thought to myself, ‘Is this the day, hopefully today’s the day?’ It was. It was my day. Just a day out really. Sort of, see ball, hit ball, and it all paid off,’’ Rattray told the Leader.

“It felt pretty good. Just happiness, because I’d never made a ton. Before yesterday my highest score was 88.’’

It was the second big win of the season for Cheltenham Park, who bowled out their first week opponents for 40 and then chased down the total in three overs – with Rattray scoring 41 not out.



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Sean Abbott hammers home Test message with maiden first-class ton


Abbott can enhance his claims by bowling the Blues to victory against Tasmania on Wednesday after they were skittled for 64 on the first day.

He and Starc shared an undefeated 189-run stand for the seventh wicket to swing the match firmly in the Blues’ favour.

Blues captain Peter Nevill declared after Abbott reached triple figures, leaving Starc stranded on 86. The Test paceman, who has a highest first-class score of 99 at Test level, angrily flung his bat upon leaving Gladys Elphick Park.

The case to blood Will Pucovski under lights in Adelaide next month gained traction on Tuesday when Burns failed again.

After starting the season with back-to-back tons, Pucovski is breathing down Burns’s neck.

Selectors Justin Langer and Trevor Hohns recently said the Test squad was settled but Burns’s lean run must be a concern.

With the Shield going into hiatus after the current round of games finishing Wednesday, Burns and Pucovski do not have any top level cricket until the first of Australia A’s two games against India A.

Will Pucovski is in contention for Test selection.Credit:Getty Images

Hohns has flagged that Test players not involved in the limited-overs internationals may be picked in the first ‘A’ game at Drummoyne Oval.

A source familiar with the issue said Burns and Pucovski, along with other Test squad members, will be given a rest, with a decision on whether they would play grade cricket not to be made before next week.

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Test squad members not involved in the white-ball series against India and the A squad will report for duty in Sydney on December 2 or 3.

Usman Khawaja followed his first-innings hundred with an unbeaten 46 for Queensland, who are in a dominant position against South Australia.

It has been a timely return to form for Khawaja, whom Hohns said was still on the selectors’ radar at the age of 33.

Victoria’s clash with Western Australia appears headed for a draw after Josh Inglis’s 125 off 122 balls gave the Warriors a first-innings lead on day three.

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Slipper wants success after Wallaby ton


With his 100th Test in the books James Slipper now wants to improve on a 53 per cent winning percentage as the leader of a young Wallabies pack.

The 31-year-old’s night was shortlived at Suncorp Stadium, Slipper forced off in the shadows of halftime after dislocating his elbow.

But the pain was dulled by a 24-22 win, the Wallabies’ first under new coach Dave Rennie after a draw and two comprehensive losses against the All Blacks this series.

The former Queensland Reds captain has rediscovered his best at the Brumbies since being punted from Ballymore for two positive drug tests in 2018.

He said he had been flattered by the constant well wishes that came his way in a “really special week”.

“Short story, no, when you set out – I’m sitting next to Tom Wright now who’s debuted – you never think about playing 100 Tests,” the prop said.

“I had some twists and turns and am very surprised that I’ve actually made it here, but at the end of the day I really want to win.

“One hundred is good, but winning is better and we need to do more of that.”

Slipper has at least two more seasons in Canberra and after earning starting status for Rennie is confident he can play a role in a side that has already featured 10 fresh faces – with an average age of 22 – in Rennie’s four games in charge.

“I’ve enjoyed my last two years in Canberra, seeing players like Tommy (Wright) come in, (Lachie) Swinton, (Angus Bell) Belly,” Slipper said.

“Direction wise, I’m really excited and we’ve just got to be more consistent, not leave it until the last game of a series, a dead rubber, to win.”

The victory was Australia’s seventh straight at Suncorp Stadium and made it two wins, a draw and a one-point loss against the All Blacks in their past five games at the stronghold.

But their form away from Brisbane hasn’t matched that, Saturday’s win enough to keep Australia narrowly ahead of Scotland at No.6 in the world.

Captain Michael Hooper said it was important they kept that in mind as they build towards the 2023 World Cup.

“It’s a good start isn’t it, for them and we want to make that the norm,” he said.

“We make no bones about where we want to go as a team and those guys are going to be a big driving factor in that.

“So bottling that feeling of pushing each other and demanding more out of each other and vice versa from the top down is going to be important to go where we want to go.”

WALLABIES DEBUTANTS IN FOUR GAMES UNDER RENNIE

* Harry Wilson (20), Hunter Paisami (22), Filipo Daugunu (25), Noah Lolesio (20), Irae Simone (25), Tate McDermott (22), Fraser McReight (21), Lachie Swinton (23), Tom Wright (23), Angus Bell (20).





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Matterson NRL ton proves teacher wrong


Ryan Matterson is having the last laugh on a former high school teacher who told him he didn’t have the goods to make it as a rugby league player.

The Parramatta back-rower will play his 100th NRL game when the Eels face Brisbane on Friday night, proving his maths teacher at St Paul’s College in Greystanes wrong.

“I don’t know whether he was trying to make me listen in class or what but he was adamant that he knew what quality rugby league players looked like and he said I wasn’t one of them,” Matterson said on Monday.

“I always said I wanted to play first grade like my old man (Paul) and my uncle (Terry Matterson) so to play just the one I was over the moon and since then I’ve played every game like it was my last.”

Against the Broncos the Eels are looking to regain the attacking potency that made them an early season premiership threat, only managing 10 tries since round 13 which is the lowest of any team.

In the wash-up from last round’s 20-2 loss to leaders Penrith, Matterson said Parramatta moved away from “what worked”.

“We’ve been speaking about that over the last 24 hours and we’re going to try and rectify that,” he said.

“We’re handing over too many possessions, I was guilty of that against Penrith when I tried to offload when it wasn’t needed.”

The 25-year-old Matterson said the Eels’ scrambling defence had kept them in games, although they were putting too much pressure on themselves with six-again sets.

“That’s what kills you. When you have to tackle and tackle and tackle it takes it out of your front-foot attack so we’ve got to fix that,” he said.

Matterson said they weren’t concerned by being written off despite holding down a position in the top four.

“We’re not worried about the outside noise and all the media talk, how we set about rectifying things has got to be within the playing group,” he said.

“Come this week or finals it’s only the 17 boys or coaching staff that can change that, it’s about actions on the field.”

Matterson said the Eels won’t rest players against the 15th-placed Broncos, planning to use the match to work on their combinations.





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