New Zealand captain Sam Cane laid the gift of an All Blacks shirt emblazoned with the name of Diego Maradona before thrashing Argentina 38-0 in the Tri-Nations on Saturday morning.
Sports stars around the world past and present have been paying tribute to Maradona after he died at the age of 60 last week. One of the greatest football players ever, Maradona is best known for his time with Argentina, Napoli and Barcelona, while also having a colourful life off the pitch.
The All Blacks paid their own respects by laying down a shirt with his name on the back at McDonald Jones Stadium.
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There was no sentiment from the New Zealanders after kick-off, however, as they went back to basics with set-piece dominance, hard running and judicious kicking to put sustained pressure on the Pumas.
The All Blacks scored five tries to earn a bonus point and will secure the title if Argentina or Australia do not win the final match of the tournament in Sydney next weekend by a substantial margin.
The victory ended New Zealand's first losing streak of more than one match since 2011 and Argentina's fairytale run in the tournament after their first win over the All Blacks was followed by a draw with Australia last week.
The Pumas had not played any test rugby for more than a year before they arrived in Australia but will still be disappointed to be held scoreless in a test match against the All Blacks for the first time.
Hooker Dane Coles scored the first try in the corner in the 12th minute and Richie Mo'unga added a penalty soon afterwards to give the All Blacks a 10-0 halftime lead, but the three-times world champions really opened up after the break.
Ardie Savea bulldozed over the line from an attacking lineout and replacement back Will Jordan scored two tries in three minutes off an Argentine error and an intercept before lock Patrick Tuipulotu blew out the score after the hooter.
Argentina made 10 changes to the side that drew with Australia last week which may account for a lack of fluency in some of the combinations and a string of handling errors.
Argentina still have a mathematical chance of clinching their maiden southern hemisphere test title but must beat Australia by 93 points next week to do it. The Wallabies would need to win by 101 points to lift the trophy.
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