All Blacks working on a two-Test trial

Ben Smith back at fullback 1566173758

Naming the side for the game the selectors have rested tighthead prop Owen Franks, centre Jack Goodhue and fullback Jordie Barrett, while Shannon Frizell will replace Liam Squire on the blindside flank and Luke Whitelock will play No.8 in Kieran Read's absence.


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TJ Perenara will start at halfback while Sonny Bill Williams will have his first start in the Championship campaign with Ryan Crotty outside him at centre.

Hansen said: "All Blacks are well known for coming back reasonably strongly after a defeat. They don't experience a lot of them, or particularly this group haven't anyway, and we had a really good session on Monday off the park and a lot of the lessons were talked about.

"The week so far on the training park seems to be showing us that they've gone up to another gear and [we're] really looking forward to Saturday because it's going to be a massive challenge," he said.

Argentina were strong at home and were proving strong away from home so the game would be a good measure of where the All Blacks were at.

Hansen said starting Williams was a lot better when he was coming back from injury.

"We think it is better for his preparation. He can prepare to play, he knows what he is going into and being able to warm up and know that 'when the whistle goes I'm out there', we think that is better for him," he said.

Hansen said they wanted to pick what they thought was their strongest side and the back three of Ben Smith, at fullback, and wings Waisake Naholo and Rieko Ioane was what they were looking for against Argentina.

They were also doing some practice for the future and he said if the All Blacks were good enough to get through the round robin at next year's Rugby World Cup they would need to play at least two big games to get to the final.

"We see Argentina and South Africa as giving us an opportunity to practice that so one of the things we wouldn't be doing at the World Cup is making a lot of changes," he said.

They rested Franks because of his age and with the travel the side faced. Ofa Tuungafasi will start at tighthead and Hansen said it would be a good opportunity for him to lead the whole group.

With Angus Ta'avao providing another instance of 'never-say-die' when it comes to international selection by having the chance to debut off the bench, he said, he hoped his story would be similarly told to that of Karl Tu'inukuafe, who is starting on the loosehead side of the scrum.

"The jersey doesn't hold itself up, he's got to fill it up and he gets an opportunity to tell his story and he's worked really hard for it.

"He didn't have a contract at the start of the year, he's been all round a few franchises but I think it is a really good example of some athletes who just take a wee while to get there, either mentally or physically and in this case I think Angus has taken a wee while to get their physically," Hansen said.

While he was a big man, he was, to use a racing analogy more like a stayer which took longer to get there than a sprinter but now that he was there, he had been able to put it together at scrum time to use his size and strength to do that job while his play around the park had also been good.

Goodhue had been slotted for a rest in Wellington but circumstances changed and he was being given the rest in Buenos Aires.

Damian McKenzie had flown home due to a family bereavement and will rejoin the side in South Africa.

Hansen said the decision not to play Jordie Barrett was down to the fact that he was a project and they were taking their time with him.

"He's 20 or 21, he's not a very old rugby player but he's a very talented one and sometimes you've just got to give them a bit of a go and it comes off, but you've still got to get him to learn. And sometimes you give him a go and it doesn't come off.

"You put your arm around him and make sure he doesn't lose his confidence but he learns from the whole thing. Jordie's a project and he's got the potential to be very, very special. His game understanding for his age is understandably not that good at times and he can make the odd mistake but he can do some really great things too.

"It's a little bit like when we first got Damian, he was all over the place like…I've described him quite often like a fly in a bottle but he's now settled down and starting to be really fluid in his game and understands when to take those risks versus the rewards that come with them.

"You can't play all risk, all risk, and Jordie's just learning that. You don't want to knock the good stuff out of him, you just want him to be able to learn when to push the button," he said.

Ben Smith back at fullback 1566173758

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