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New Zealand All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen and selectors have named a team with three changes to their side for this Saturday’s Rugby Championship against Argentina at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton,
The All Blacks are the only remaining unbeaten team in the Rugby Championship and have retained most of the team that secured the Bledisloe Cup in Wellington 12 days ago:
Ryan Crotty returns at second five-eighth, with Anton Lienert-Brown moving to the 23 jersey while Codie Taylor is named at replacement hooker and Luke Romano comes onto the bench as lock cover.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “In selecting this team, we felt there was the need for consistency. The squad is five games into re-establishing themselves on the international stage and we felt that it would not be right to make a lot of changes.
“We know we’ll be facing a completely different challenge this week. Argentina will bring their traditional physicality up front and flair in the backs and we will have to be ready for whatever they throw at us.
“They have shown in their time in the Rugby Championship, and especially in their two recent Tests against South Africa, that they are a very good side and will bring their own unique challenges.
“We have worked hard during the early part of the week on getting reconnected as a group, getting the understanding of our roles cemented, and getting our mental attitude right. We’ll need to be right on top of our game, both mentally and physically, and play the game with real accuracy, if we are to prevail on Saturday.”
All Blacks Captain Kieran Read will play his 90th Test match on Saturday while prop Owen Franks will play his 83rd, becoming the 10th equal most capped All Blacks player (alongside hooker Andrew Hore). If Franks doesn’t score a try on Saturday, he will equal Italian prop Salvatore Perugini’s record of playing the most international Tests without scoring a try.
1. Joe Moody , 2. Dane Coles, 3. Owen Franks , 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Jerome Kaino , 7. Sam Cane , 8. Kieran Read (c), 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Julian Savea, 12. Ryan Crotty , 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 14. Israel Dagg , 15. Ben Smith,
Replacements : 16. Codie Taylor , 17. Wyatt Crockett , 18. Charlie Faumuina , 19. Luke Romano, 20. Ardie Savea , 21. TJ Perenara , 22. Aaron Cruden , 23. Anton Lienert-Brown
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