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All Blacks team named for La Plata Test

allblacks.com     26 Sep 2013    

There are just two changes to the starting XV from the team that played South Africa a fortnight ago. One of the changes is injury-enforced, with Aaron Cruden in for the injured Daniel Carter in the 10 jersey, while Andrew Hore comes in as the starting hooker in his 80th Test. There is just the one change on the bench, with Jeremy Thrush coming in as lock cover.

Kieran Read will again captain the team in the absence of the injured Richie McCaw.

The team is (Test caps in brackets):

Starting XV:
1. Tony Woodcock (102)
2. Andrew Hore (79)
3. Owen Franks (50)
4. Brodie Retallick (18)
5. Samuel Whitelock (45)
6. Liam Messam (24)
7. Sam Cane (10)
8. Kieran Read - captain (55)
9. Aaron Smith (19)
10. Aaron Cruden (23)
11. Julian Savea (15)
12. Ma'a Nonu (82)
13. Conrad Smith (73)
14. Ben Smith (19)
15. Israel Dagg (32)

Reserves:
16. Keven Mealamu (106)
17. Wyatt Crockett (17)
18. Charlie Faumuina (11)
19. Jeremy Thrush (2)
20. Steven Luatua (4)
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (8)
22. Beauden Barrett (11)
23. Charles Piutau (4)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "This game has huge significance with regard to us having any chance of winning the Investec Rugby Championship. Playing Argentina at home is never an easy assignment so we have worked hard on, firstly, our recovery on arrival and, secondly, our preparation throughout the week. We know that we will have to be physically on top of our game and strategically smart.

"As always, we are expecting a huge challenge from the Argentina and a very vocal crowd but everyone is looking forward to embracing this challenge.

"The city of La Plata has had its difficulties since we were here last, with the flooding, so it is an opportunity for both teams to bring something positive to the region."

Commenting on the change in hooker, Hansen said: "We are very happy with where Dane is at and with his performances of late. But like a lot of the young players, we are also mindful of managing their game time as part of their development so have brought in Andrew to start this week."

Interesting facts
* The All Blacks will field a hugely experienced side against Argentina with 809 caps in the match day 23.
* Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith will play their 50th Test together as a midfield combination - equalling the world record for a midfield partnership currently held by Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy.
* The All Blacks have played Argentina 17 times since 1985 with 16 wins to the All Blacks and a draw.

The Investec Rugby Championship - All Blacks Tests
1. Australia, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Saturday 17 August. All Blacks 49 Australia 27.
2. Australia, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, Saturday 24 August. All Blacks 27 Australia 16.
3. Argentina (Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, 7.35PM, Saturday 7 September) All Blacks 28 Argentina 13
4. South Africa (Eden Park, Auckland, 7.35PM, Saturday 14 September) All Blacks 29 South Africa 15
5. Argentina (Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata, 7.40PM, Sat 28 September)
6. South Africa (Ellis Park, Johannesburg, 5.00PM, Saturday 5 October)