Balancing act required in selections for second Argentina Test

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All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree said hooker Codie Taylor, props Ethan de Groot and Ofa Tuungafasi, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and loose forward, and captain, Ardie Savea should all be in the mix while prop Joe Moody, who came off the bench for his first game of the campaign on Sunday, would need more time also.

 

Plumtree was happy with Moody's effort but concerned about some of the scrum rulings against the All Blacks in the last quarter. They would be getting feedback from the referees about why they were being penalised and what they need to do.

 

"Sometimes we're dominant and the scrum collapses and unfortunately the referees don't always get it right, I'm not saying they get it wrong all the time but sometimes they definitely don't get it right. I think in the Boks game there were quite a few scrum penalties in the South Africa-Australia game, it's part of the game, it seems to be heavily penalised at the moment," he said.

 

But he felt there were many positives in the performance, especially the amount of pressure they built through their continuity play.

 

"We had to play a fairly patient game because of the Argentinian's defence being well-disciplined and organised, and had to make sure we didn't get frustrated we couldn't score every time we got possession.

 

"There were a lot of lineouts in the game, I think it was around 20, and we pretty much had to throw to the front, and there was a lot of driving going on.

"It was a game the forwards could get their teeth into. I thought they drove well at times, our breakdown work was generally good. We got a lot of quick ball, and a number of individuals in the pack carried well, too."

 

As his former coach with the Hurricanes, Plumtree was pleased with hooker Asafo Aumua's starting debut.

 

"The way Argentina competed it was pretty tough on Asafo. Generally, his throwing was fine when we stuck to the spaces that were available to our lineout.

 

"Around the field he carried really hard, and with real determination, and put in a couple of great hits. It's a big tick for Asafo. He played well. He's been a little frustrated he hasn't got the opportunities and to come out and play like that was great for him," he said.

 

Plumtree said with the physical games they expected over the next three weekends, the selectors would have to work their selections so those who played the Springboks still had plenty of energy.

 

"Going into the first Springbok game, which is not far away, we're going to have to make sure that the 23 we select are in great shape. We've got some boys out there who haven't had a lot of opportunity, and those are the conversations as selectors we'll have over the next 24 hours," he said.

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