A last minute Ben smith try gave new Zealand a bonus-point 33-15 Rugby Championship victory over Argentina in La Plata on Saturday.

The result moved the All Blacks five points clear of South Africa at the top of the table ahead of their showdown in Johannesburg next weekend.

Winger Smith struck for the second time in the match with just 27 seconds left on the clock, using brain and brawn to dive over beside the posts.

New Zealand triumphed 54-15 at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata last season, but it was a much closer contest this time with handling errors costing Argentina dearly at times.

Argentina had an early chance to take the lead from a long-range penalty, but centre Marcelo Bosch saw his attempt drift well left of the posts.

The Pumas switched goal-kickers for a shorter shot soon after and fly-half Nicolas Sanchez made no mistake to nudge the home side ahead.

All Blacks playmaker Aaron Cruden, starting in place of injured Dan Carter, levelled from another penalty four minutes later.

Sanchez restored the Pumas’ advantage with another successful penalty and missed a further attempt, leaving Argentina 6-3 ahead midway through the opening half.

But once again the lead was short-lived as left-wing Julian Savea snapped up a loose ball in midfield and darted down the wing to go over in the corner.

Cruden was off target with the conversion only to be given a second chance because a spectator shone a green laser at him.

The playmaker appeared unsettled by the incident and missed his second chance as well with the ball again veering left of the near post.

Cruden did succeed with a penalty shot and so did Sanchez, giving the 2011 Rugby World Cup winners an 11-9 lead at the break.

That changed to a one-point deficit four minutes into the second half as Bosch comfortably slotted his second 50-metre effort between the posts

However, the All Blacks were never prepared to trail for long and just two minutes later Cruden kicked his third penalty of the game to restore a two-point lead.

New Zealand were looking increasingly dangerous on attack and flank Sam Cane and Smith crossed the try-line within five minutes to push the visitors 26-12 ahead.

With 10 minutes left it was 26-15 to the All Blacks, and they needed one more try for a bonus point.

It appeared to have eluded the visitors until Smith ran through, meaning South Africa must win with a bonus point next weekend and prevent New Zealand gaining any points to snatch the title.


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