By Gregor Paul in Nelson

It might take a bit of time for the quality of the All Blacks' victory over Argentina to sink in.

Mindsets will need to be adjusted as most will have the dial set to the old Pumas. Since they came into the Rugby Championship in 2012 they have conformed to a particular pattern.

They have been willing but not so able. They have been physical without the finesse to manipulate the last vestiges of the defence.


They have been a 65-minute team — tough, frustrating and rugged; hard to break down until the last quarter when they make a few mistakes and are punished.

But the old Argentina may be just that. In Nelson, the new Pumas were unveiled. Well, technically, they were unveiled two weeks ago in Argentina when they comfortably beat the Springboks, but this was their first outing on these shores as a side with confidence and conviction.

The Pumas demanded plenty of a young All Blacks side and for the most part, a young All Blacks side responded.

Every time they conceded a try they bounced straight back. Every mistake they made, they recovered.

Every time they were breached, they scrambled back and defended with the sort of die-for-the-cause attitude that coaches love to see.

And when they needed a killer play, they found it. Life can't be bad when the All Blacks can make a handful of changes and still get close to scoring 50 points against a good team.

The biggest positive was Ben Smith. It's not that he surprised anyone with his brilliance — that's been his standard offering for almost six years now.

It was the fact that his sabbatical has so obviously paid off. He took five months off last year and that explains why he was looking so physically sharp and mentally aware.


Shannon Frizell, of the new brigade, probably did the most to enhance his standing.

He went for the full 80 and there was no let-up in his approach. Nor was there anything complicated about his game — he came on to the ball hard and didn't see Pumas hanging off him as a good reason to stop running.

"You couldn't be anything other than extremely happy with him," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

"He found a second wind and I thought he and Ardie [Savea] were outstanding in those last 15 minutes. He can be really satisfied with how he has gone."

Frizell also made a few telling tackles and on balance he possibly edged the other candidate for emerging man of the match — Karl Tu'inukuafe.

The man who began the year without a Super Rugby contract more than did his part in crushing the Pumas scrum. It wasn't much of a contest at all and Tu'inukuafe is a set-piece phenomenon.

"Really happy," said All Blacks captain Kieran Read about the scrummaging.

"The Argies are a good forward pack. The big boys deserve a big pat on the back for that. They threw a lot of tricks at us and I thought we did really well there."

The less positive, but by no means negative performance, came from Richie Mo'unga.

The much-hyped youngster missed touch with two penalties, dropped the ball in contact a couple of times and had an air of nervousness about him.

He didn't look as composed as he normally does and that was precisely the point Hansen has been trying to make for some time now — that test rugby is totally different to Super Rugby.

The pace, pressure and intensity of the game troubled Mo'unga a little, although he still managed to put in a solid shift.

"It was always going to be a tough day because the opposition were tough," said Hansen.

"For a young man having to drive the team around for the first time he did it okay.

"There will be parts of his game he won't be happy with. It is a difficult position to come into so we are happy enough with him.

"We got the opportunity to blood some young men and have them put under pressure. We showed a lot of strength of character. We did well."