A blistering start from New Zealand laid the platform for a comfortable 41-12 victory over hosts Argentina in their Rugby Championship opener in Mendoza on Saturday as flyhalf Damian McKenzie made a strong case for Rugby World Cup inclusion.
The All Blacks ran in three tries in the opening 12 minutes and led 31-0 at halftime as hooker Dane Coles, number eight Ardie Savea, centres Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane, scrumhalf Aaron Smith, fullback Beauden Barrett and debutant wing Emoni Narawa all scored.
McKenzie, playing his first test since 2021, was wayward from the kicking tee, but his ability as a playmaker to put others into space was clear and a timely reminder of his qualities for coach Ian Foster, who selected him ahead of Richie Mo'unga.
New Zealand's speed at the ruck and ambition with ball in hand put Argentina under immense pressure and forced the hosts into giving away numerous penalties. Their only rewards were tries for prop Lucio Sordoni and hooker Agustin Creevy.
"I'm really pleased with the way we started, the first half we were outstanding," New Zealand captain Sam Cane said at the post-match presentation. "The second half was a bit of an arm-wrestle but I am proud of that result.
"The key to the first 20 minutes was our discipline and how ruthless we were on attack. We were really clinical and able to get the ball into space."
Argentina were to an extent the architects of their own downfall in the first half as they kicked away what scraps of possession they had, playing into the hands of New Zealand, who were only too happy to run the ball back from their own 22.
It was, by and large, a dazzling display from the visitors in what was expected to be a tough test of their mettle after a topsy-turvy 2022, including a first ever home loss to Argentina after which Foster came under immense pressure.
Argentina were keen to make a statement about their potential ahead of the Rugby World Cup but could not have made a worse start as they were overwhelmed by New Zealand.
The home side were penalised for repeated infringements, not least desperate attempts to slow down the All Blacks' quick ruck ball.
New Zealand's forward power meant they had a platform from which to unleash their skilful backs and Argentina had no answer, until they tightened up their play after halftime.
"It is a disappointing result," Argentina captain Julian Montoya said. "I don't believe in excuses or short cuts. We have to be better next week.
"When we play as a team we can be dangerous but at this level you have to be focused for 80 minutes and we were not."