All Blacks say 'no' to Puma scuffles
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand have pledged to keep their fists to themselves in their clash with Argentina in Hamilton on Saturday, ruling out a repeat of the scuffles that marred their last outing against Australia.
All Blacks captain Kieran Read said the third-round Rugby Championship match was a game for "the big boys" but they could not allow themselves to be sidetracked.
The All Blacks were visibly frustrated by the Wallabies' aggressive approach two weeks ago and there have been suggestions the Pumas may try to rattle them in similar fashion.
Most of the Pumas were in the Jaguares side that was the most penalised team in Super Rugby this year, with a rap sheet including eight yellow cards and two red.
Read admitted Friday that the All Blacks could have handled the Australians better, and said they have been working on their mental approach to the game.
"As a group we could probably be smarter in dealing with those type of things around the game and try not to let it frustrate us as much as it did a couple of weeks back," he said.
"We're all bound to get frustrated at certain times and certain things can get you, but it's about the ability to bounce back from those occasions.
"We've done a bit of work on that, we always do on the mental side of things. It's about learning lessons and the guys have certainly done that.
"We'll just play footie and I'm sure the officials will look after that side of things."
But the All Blacks are expecting Argentina to produce their trademark bruising, physical approach, buoyed by the fact they came from behind to beat South Africa 26-24 in their last outing.
"It always breeds success upon success generally when you get wins like that," Read said.
"There's not much for them to lose. They'll be turning up with a bit of confidence, a chance to throw the ball around and give it all they've got."
The Pumas forwards are a strong unit at scrums and line-outs, and have perfected the art of the rolling maul which Read said would test the All Blacks who rely on quick ball to feed their backs.
"We expect a pretty tough game up front so our big boys are going to have to really step up and get parity or go over the top of them there," he said.
"We're looking at this Argie team as a real threat to us."