Any suggestion the Pumas would be pushovers in their Rugby Championship debut was squashed for good on Saturday.
A fortnight removed from drawing 16-16 with the Springboks, Argentina pushed the All Blacks to limits few expected. It took a late rally in which the world champions scored two tries to stave off a stern challenge and earn a 21-5 win in Wellington.
The Pumas’ competitive performance earned them further respect and vindicated their inclusion in the new four-national southern hemisphere tournament.
All Black coach Steve Hansen praised the Pumas and said he was particularly impressed with the South Americans’ unique defensive system.
"They're a very passionate team and have a lot of desire to play well for their nation," said Hansen.
"The system they use is very good, they give you a lot of space on the outside and make you think there's fool's gold out there.
"If you go there too early with missed passes, they get out and cover that."
Veteran All Black centre Conrad Smith, who made an impressive return from an eye injury, admitted Argentina’s defence baffled the New Zealanders.
"I don't think we really got a grip on it until near the end of the game," Smith said.
"Hopefully we can use that again when we play them on their home track."
Prior to the return fixture in La Plata on September 29, Argentina will face the Wallabies in back-to-back Tests, the first of which will be contested on the Gold Coast this weekend.
Argentina coach Santiago Phelan said his team would continue to strive for improvement curve in their last away Test of the Rugby Championship.
"For us it's very important, the next game in Australia," he said.
"This game gives us confidence... we are very disappointed about the result but very happy about the way the players are attacking the game.
"Obviously we will try to do the same against Australia."