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The All Blacks coach Ian Foster said his team needed to be better at keeping their composure late in matches after they lost to Argentina on home soil for the first time in Christchurch. Traditionally strong finishers, New Zealand looked to have the game in the bag when Richie Mo’unga gave them an 18-12 lead eight minutes into the second half, only for the Pumas to turn over the restart and score a try on their way to a 25-18 win.

“We conceded that try at the kickoff, a bit fortunate, and after that they grew an arm and a leg, and we probably got perhaps a little bit flustered,” he said. “So we’ve got to look at our composure in the latter stages, particularly with the bench coming on, and we’ve just got to make sure we’re a little bit more ruthless at the breakdown.”

It was the fourth time in six games this season that Foster has been forced to explain a defeat for a team that has traditionally only had one or two a year. Foster said the Pumas ability to turn over the ball at the breakdown, and the refereeing of the tackle area, had been a key factor in the loss. “Congratulations to Argentina, they kept true to how they wanted to play, they really frustrated us,” he added.

“We didn’t get what we wanted at the breakdown. We had large periods of dominance in our set piece but that didn’t go well at the end. But overall they got away with some stuff at the breakdown and we weren’t able to deal with it.“

Foster has endured a torrent of criticism this year after New Zealand lost their July series to Ireland and their Rugby Championship opener in South Africa. It was only after the victory in Johannesburg two weeks ago that he was confirmed in his job through to next year’s World Cup.

The reigning tournament champions have the chance to make immediate amends when they face the Pumas in Hamilton next week and Foster said there were some positives to take out of Saturday’s defeat. “We’ve got to look at the dominance we got in the first two thirds of the game, particularly at lineout and scrum time,” he said. “But just a little bit of discipline and some frustration and that’s a key thing they play on.”

His Argentina counterpart, Michael Cheika was clearly delighted after their historic victory. The former Wallabies coach was unapologetic about his enthusiastic celebrations, which put them top of the Rugby Championship after three rounds.

“For those Argentina boys, that’s historic for them and I want them to enjoy it,” he said. “It’s a first for me too, I’ve never won a Test match in New Zealand. I’m looking to grow the team, particularly towards the World Cup, and what’s important for us now is getting ready for next week. Because they’re going to come back with every piece of artillery they’ve got and we’ve got to find a way to handle that and give something back.”

Cheika, who has now overseen four wins from six matches in his first season in charge of the Pumas, said he had not held back in his pre-match and halftime team talks.

“They are guys who haven’t won a lot of Rugby Championship games and maybe not a lot of self belief,” he said. “So you’ve got to bring [emotion[ as well as the technical to make them believe in themselves. “We knew we had to bring intensity, we knew they had a bit of pressure on them so we had to try and build on that, and then just take it from there and see where the game lands.” Like their first ever victory over the All Blacks in Sydney two years ago when Cheika was a consultant with the team, Saturday’s victory was built on an incredible defensive effort. Cheika paid credit to his new defensive coach Dave Kidwell for what he had brought to the team.

Kidwell was born in Christchurch and has a mural in the city honouring his days as a player and coach with the New Zealand rugby league team. “It was awesome, the guys have been building week by week and this is just the result of the hard work they’ve been doing,” Kidwell said. “It’s all about the connection in the line and moving as one, making sure we’re tackling well. It’s pretty simple.”

The three-times world champions, who chased the game for the last nine minutes with 14 men after Shannon Frizell was shown a yellow card, will almost certainly now be plunged back into the crisis that looked to be ended by their victory against South Africa two weeks ago.

The home series loss to Ireland in July and defeat to the Springboks in their Rugby Championship opener had Foster in danger of losing his job as coach until the impressive victory at Ellis Park. “It certainly felt in the first half that we were a lot more dominant than the scoreboard showed,” said their captain, Sam Cane. “But a lot of credit has to go to them for the way they stuck at it, turned the tables and put us under a lot of pressure in the second half. We didn’t respond the way we wanted and they were good enough to get the win tonight.”