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PREVIEW: All Blacks v Argentina first Test

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Andy Burt     07 Sep 2017     Getty Images

Match details: All Blacks v Argentina, 7.35pm, Saturday 9 September, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth

Matches played: 24
All Blacks won: 23
Draw: 1
Last match: All Blacks 36, Argentina 17 (October 1, 2016)
Largest All Blacks winning margin: 93-8 (1997)

SQUAD NEWS
The All Blacks have made a number of changes to the side that beat Australia in a last-minute thriller in Dunedin two weeks ago. The major talking points are the selection of blockbusting loose forward Vaea Fifita at blindside flanker, a first Test start in 2017 for lock Luke Romano and the return of wing Nehe Milner-Skudder to the All Blacks for the first time in almost two years. In the midfield, Anton Lienert-Brown will partner Sonny Bill Williams while Ngani Laumape will offer impact from the bench. 

QUICK TAP: ALL BLACKS TEST THEIR OPTIONS IN NEW PLYMOUTH

LONG AWAITED RETURN
After bursting onto the scene with his scintillating stepping and electric pace in 2015, Nehe Milner-Skudder returns for his first Test match since the 2015 Rugby World Cup final. The Hurricanes and Manawatu Turbos flyer has overcome devastating shoulder and foot injuries to take his place on the All Blacks left wing. Milner-Skudder has scored eight tries from eight Tests and will be looking to keep his 100 percent try-scoring strike rate alive against Argentina. 

ARGENTINIAN THREATS
With the Pumas settled in the Investec Rugby Championship and the Jaguares now two years deep in Super Rugby, Argentina no longer have the surprise factor. With more exposure to Argentinian rugby, the All Blacks know who the major threats are. Upfront, Agustin Creevy is regarded as one of the world’s best hookers and will have a great battle with Dane Coles. In the loose forwards, Pablo Matera is a devastating defender and has already made 20 tackles in this year’s Rugby Championship. The Pumas have a number of threats out wide but perhaps none more so than flying fullback Joaquin Tuculet who was a constant menace during Argentina’s two Tests against South Africa.
FAST FACT
The All Blacks have played three previous Test matches at Yarrow Stadium for an average of 64 points per game.

BE THERE

Limited tickets are still available to watch the All Blacks play their first Test in New Plymouth since 2013. Click HERE to buy tickets and experience the action live!

TEAMS (caps in brackets)
All Blacks:
1. Joe Moody (30) 2. Dane Coles (50) 3. Nepo Laulala (5) 4. Luke Romano (27) 5. Brodie Retallick (66) 6. Vaea Fifita (1) 7. Ardie Savea (18) 8. Kieran Read (102) – Captain 9. TJ Perenara (35) 10. Beauden Barrett (55) 11. Nehe Milner-Skudder (8) 12. Sonny Bill Williams (38)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (15) 14. Israel Dagg (65) 15. Damian McKenzie (4)
Reserves: 16. Codie Taylor (21) 17. Wyatt Crockett (63) 18. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (6) 19. Scott Barrett (9) 20. Sam Cane (46) 21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (25) 22. Lima Sopoaga (9) 23. Ngani Laumape (2)

Argentina: 1: Lucas Noguera Paz 2 Agustin Creevy – Captain 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro 4 Guido Petti 5 Matias Alemanno 6 Pablo Matera 7 Javier Ortega Desio 8 Benjamin Macome 9 Tomas Cubelli 10 Nicolas Sanchez 11 Emiliano Boffelli 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente 13 Matias Moroni 14 Santiago Cordero 15 Joaquin Tuculet
Reserves: 16 Julian Montoya 17 Santiago Garcia Botta 18 Enrique Pieretto Heilan 19 Marcos Kremer 20 Tomas Lezana 21 Martin Landajo 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias 23 Matias Orlando.