Rugby Championship 2018: New Zealand beat Argentina 35-17 to lift trophy for sixth time
|Argentina (3) 17|
|Tries: Cubelli, Boffelli Cons: Sanchez (2) Pen: Sanchez|
|New Zealand (21) 35|
|Tries: Ioane (2), Naholo, Tuipulotu, Lienert-Brown Cons: Barrett (4), Mo'unga|
New Zealand won the Rugby Championship for the sixth time with a 35-17 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires.
Victory gave the All Blacks an unsurpassable seven-point lead over South Africa with one game to play.
A shock 36-34 win in Wellington this month had given South Africa hope that they could overtake New Zealand and win the competition for the first time.
But they failed to secure a bonus point in a 23-12 win over Australia in Port Elizabeth earlier on Saturday.
That result left the All Blacks needing a win to secure the title, and they outscored Argentina by five tries to two to collect a bonus point as well.
The world champions were missing several regulars in Buenos Aires, particularly in the pack, but it made little difference as they recovered from a shaky first five minutes to dominate a team who have still to record a win against them in 28 games.
"I don't know if we're the finished product yet. They are a young team that were out there for large parts of tonight so it was pretty pleasing," said New Zealand coach Steve Hansen.
New Zealand went behind to a Nicolas Sanchez penalty after just five minutes but Rieko Ioane put the visitors ahead two minutes later.
Waisake Naholo went over on 16 minutes, Ioane scored the All Blacks' third - his 20th in 19 games - 11 minutes before half-time and Beauden Barrett put away all three conversions as Argentina's handling errors contributed to a 21-3 deficit at the break.
Sonny Bill Williams was given a yellow card four minutes before half-time but the home side could not take advantage.
Both teams scored two tries during the second half with Patrick Tuipulotu and Anton Lienert-Brown crossing for New Zealand and Barrett and Richie Mo'unga converting.
Tomas Cubelli and Emiliano Boffelli were the Argentine scorers and Sanchez added the conversions.
"They're the best in the world," said Cubelli. "We weren't the team that we can be."