New Zealand ran in seven tries to crush Argentina 54-15 today to win the inaugural Rugby Championship title with a game to spare.
The clinical and merciless world champions recovered from conceding an early try to score four and build a 32-8 half-time advantage at a packed Estadio Ciudad de La Plata.
Argentina also started the second half well and scored another try only for the men in black to once again wrest control and right wing Cory Jane completed the rout in the final minute with his third touchdown.
Fellow wing Julian Savea crossed the line twice and scrum-half Aaron Smith and centre Ma'a Nonu once each with the rest of the points coming from the boots of fit-again Dan Carter and the man who replaceed him at fly-half, Aaron Cruden.
Carter, who missed the last two rounds of the southern hemisphere championship due to a calf injury, slotted three conversions and two penalties and Cruden two conversions and a penalty.
Scrum-half Martin Landajo, who had an outstanding game, and right wing Gonzalo Camacho scored a try each for Argentina and fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez kicked one conversion and one penalty.
It was a sad night for the Pumas, who entered the game hoping to test the All Blacks after holding South Africa in Mendoza, matching the All Blacks for 60 minutes in Wellington and nearly defeating Australia on the Gold Coast.
They failed in Australasia because they could not last the pace, but that was irrelevant in this city south of Buenos Aires as the All Blacks gave their finest performance of the Championship to record a fifth consecutive victory.
Winning with a bonus point lifted New Zealand to 21 points followed by South Africa (12), Australia (eight) and Argentina (three) with the final fixtures scheduled for next weekend.
Argentina 15 New Zealand 54
Argentina - Tries: Martin Landajo, Gonzalo Camacho. Conversion: Juan Martin Hernandez. Penalty: Juan Martin Hernandez
New Zealand - Tries: Aaron Smith, Cory Jane (3), Julian Savea (2), Ma'a Nonu. Conversions: Dan Carter (3), Aaron Cruden (2). Penalties: Carter (2), Cruden
Rugby Championship at a glance after fifth-round matches Saturday:
At La Plata
Argentina 15 New Zealand 54
South Africa 31 Australia 8
Standings (played, won, drawn, lost, points scored, points conceded, bonus points, total)
New Zealand 5 5 0 0 145 50 1 21 -- champions
South Africa 5 2 1 2 104 77 2 12
Australia 5 2 0 3 76 118 0 8
Argentina 5 0 1 4 61 141 1 3
Australia 19 New Zealand 27
At Cape Town
South Africa 27 Argentina 6
New Zealand 22 Australia 0
Argentina 16 South Africa 16
New Zealand 21 Argentina 5
Australia 26 South Africa 19
New Zealand 21 South Africa 11
At Gold Coast
Australia 23 Argentina 19
Leading points scorers
46: Carter (NZL)
40: Barnes (AUS)
34: M. Steyn (RSA)
30: Habana (RSA)
29: Cruden (NZL)
25: Jane (NZL)
20: Hernandez (ARG)
15: Dagg and Savea (NZL)
11: Rodriguez (ARG), F. Steyn (RSA)
10: Kirchner (RSA), A. Smith (NZL)
South Africa v New Zealand 1500GMT
Argentina v Australia 2310GMT
10: New Zealand
3: Australia, South Africa