3 Oct 2012

All Blacks clinch Rugby Championship title

6:14 am on 3 October 2012

Winger Cory James scored three of New Zealand's seven tries as the world champion All Blacks beat Argentina 54-15 in La Plata to lift the inaugural Rugby Championship title.

The other New Zealand winger, Julian Savea, also scored two tries in an open match in which the Pumas also crossed the All Blacks line twice, most notably with scrumhalf Martin Landajo's opening try of the match.

A noisy 45,000 full house at the Etadio Unico were treated to some exciting, if often error-riddled, running from both back lines with the All Blacks enjoying a clear edge when it came to finishing.

New Zealand took their winning run to 15 since last year's World Cup and travel to Johannesburg for their final match of the tournament next weekend against South Africa, who beat Australia 31-8 earlier.

It was a return to regional dominance for the All Blacks, who won 10 of the 16 Tri-Nations titles but lost out to the Wallabies in last year's final version of the competition before it was replaced to allow the addition of the Pumas.

Coach Steve Hansen says they wanted to win the championship from day one and to do it so early is a reflection of how hard the boys have worked and how well they've played.

New Zealand have 21 points, South Africa 12, Australia eight and Argentina three.

Argentina host Australia in the final round next weekend.