New Zealand overcame a disjointed, ill-disciplined first half to beat a ferociously committed Argentina 26-16 in their opening Pool C match at Wembley on Sunday.
Argentina had gone into the break 13-12 up, courtesy of a try by Guido Petti and flawless kicking by Nicolas Sanchez as discipline issues dogged New Zealand.
While the All Blacks stayed in the hunt via four Daniel Carter penalties, they also had captain Richie McCaw (for apparent trip) and vice-captain Conrad Smith (obstruction at a ruck close to his own try-line) sent to the sin-bin.
Argentina’s Pablo Mantera was yellow-carded earlier for obstruction.
The stop-start affair continued in the second half, Sanchez extending Argentina’s lead by three points only minutes after the interval to further raise Argentine hopes of a first-ever win over the world champions.
From around the 60-minute mark New Zealand found some more cohesion and continuity, scoring tries through scrum-half Aaron Smith and replacement flanker Sam Cane.
Carter converted both to make it 26-16 and prevent the All Blacks losing a Rugby World Cup pool match for the first time ever.
Follow World Rugby on social media: