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Preview:AllBlacks v Argentina

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Sportal.co.nz     28 Sep 2012     Getty Images

VENUE & TIME: Estadio Cuidad de La Plata, La Plata, 12.00 (NZT), 18.10

HEAD TO HEAD: Played 15, New Zealand 14, Argentina 0, Draws 1

LAST TIME: September 8, 2012 (Wellington) – New Zealand 33-10 Argentina.

WALKING WOUNDED: New Zealand have welcomed first five-eighths Dan Carter back from injury after he missed the last two Tests with a calf strain. Argentina have been able to keep the side that went so close to beating Australia together.

FORM: New Zealand faced a tough Test in overcoming South Africa in Dunedin and were unable to unleash the quality of game they were looking for. Having had a taste of the Argentine style in their first round clash New Zealand know what to expect. Carter's return could be significant by virtue of the experience he adds to the side. Argentina came close again to recording their first win, against Australia, but were undone in the last stages of the game. They have developed significantly during the competition and remain a significant threat to New Zealand.

WHO'S HOT: Fullback Israel Dagg has shown glimpses of his best form throughout the season and if able to put that into a full game then the Argentine defences will be well and truly put to the test. Centre Conrad Smith has wasted no time getting back to his best level and his form with more time in the middle will be interesting in this Test. No.8 Kieran Read has not been quite as influential as in the Ireland campaign but can be expected to provide great support for the n on-stop performer in skipper Richie McCaw. Argentine centre Marcelo Bosch has been a hard-running contributor for his side and if he can get fullback Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino into the action on the outside there could be some fireworks for the home team. Juan Martin Hernandez may have had a quiet showing in Wellington but every game back sees him improve and in the heady home atmosphere he could be well capable of lifting. And in the pack few offer more to his side than porp Rodrigo Roncero. He had a big game in Wellington and with the likes of lock Julio Faras Cabello he offers genuine threats for New Zealand.
WE THINK: For many of the All Blacks a new experience awaits them in front of passionate Argentinian fans. Coping with that support will be a factor in the side's performance. However, the knowledge of what to expect from the home side, as a result of their Wellington contest, will be a significant boost for the All Blacks game plan. In drier conditions the ability to break down the rugged Argentine defences should aid the visitors and the time the side has spent together should be a key element in the Rugby Championship being sewn up for New Zealand. The All Blacks by 10 points.

TEAMS:
Argentina:1.Rodrigo Roncero, 2. Eusebio Guinazu, 3.Juan Figallo, 4.Manuel Carizza, 5.Patricio Albacete, 6.Julio Farias Cabello, 7.Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 8.Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), 9.Martin Landajo, 10.Juan Martin Hernandez, 11.Horacio Agulla, 12.Santiago Fernandez, 13.Marcelo Bosch, 14. Gonzalo Camacho, 15.Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.

Reserves: 16.Agustin Creevy, 17.Marcos Ayerza, 18.Tomas Vallejos, 19.Tomas Leonardi, 20.Nicolas Vergallo, 21.Martin Rodriguez, 22.Juan Imhoff.
New Zealand: 1.Tony Woodcock, 2.Andrew Hore, 3.Owen Franks, 4.Luke Romano, 5.Samuel Whitelock, 6.Liam Messam, 7.Richie McCaw, 8.Kieran Read, 9.Aaron Smith, 10.Daniel Carter, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Ma'a Nonu, 13.Conrad Smith, 14.Cory Jane, 15.Israel Dagg.

Reserves: 16.Keven Mealamu, 17.Charlie Faumuina, 18.Brodie Retallick, 19.Sam Cane, 20.Piri Weepu, 21.Aaron Cruden, 22.Ben Smith.

REFEREE: Jaco Peyper