"A big day for Argentina rugby" - Nation celebrates historic first win over All Blacks

Youth Olympic gold medallist among Los Pumas team who beat New Zealand for first time ever in men's 15s, to leave Tri-Nations tournament wide open

By James Pratt

The Argentina men's rugby team created history on Saturday with a stunning first ever win over New Zealand.

Los Pumas outplayed the All Blacks in their Tri-Nations Championship encounter, winning 25-15 at the Bankwest Stadium in Sydney, in front of 10,000 fans.

The result was even more of a shock given that it was the first game in more than a year for the Argentina 15-a-side team due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Their team included Lucio Cinti, who was part of the Argentina rugby sevens team that won gold at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games. New Zealand had Rio 2016 Olympian Rieko Ioane in their side.

All of Argentina's points in Australia were scored by Nicolás Sánchez, who finished with a try, conversion, and six penalties.

Their captain Pablo Matera told media on the pitch after the win that the result was "a big day for Argentina rugby and also for our country and people."

For New Zealand, this was a second defeat in as many weeks. The three-time world cup winners were beaten by Australia 24-22 last saturday.

Australia and Argentina meet next Saturday, with the Tri-Nations title battle wide open.

Coming of age for Youth Olympic champion

Hosts Argentina won gold in men's rugby sevens at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics, beating France in the final, with Cinti one of the try scorers and among the first to graduate from that young Pumas team to the 15-a-side senior ranks.

Both nations were part of the rugby sevens tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where their men's teams were losing quarter-finalists. Argentina were beaten by finallists Great Britain, while New Zealand lost out to eventual gold medallists Fiji in the seven-a-side format of the sport.

They'll each be aiming for a better result at the Games in Tokyo in 2021, with both already having qualified.

New Zealand's women claimed the silver medal at Rio.