“I’m ready to rip in” – Joe Moody

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The 50-Test veteran knows the Argentinians well, having played his last two Test matches against them in Australia last year. There are some new faces in Sunday's front row, but that was unlikely to hinder the All Blacks approach.

 

He said the analysis players did on the Pumas ahead of the Test was confined to their most recent games and their playing personnel.

 

"It doesn't really matter who they've brought, it's just what their patterns are and what they seem to be trying to do and achieve at scrum time," he said.

 

Moody has been out of action since mid-April when he damaged a plantar fascia ligament on his left foot playing Super Rugby for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

 

"It has been frustrating because I've been able to do pretty much everything for a wee while now, except for scrums. I've been running around for a while but the scrummaging's held me back with the toe.

 

"So I'm pretty excited to get back into things this week. I've had a good training week so far this week so I'm feeling confident with how it has held up," he said.

 

Based on the diagnosis after his injury was assessed he would have been back earlier than this weekend. But New Zealand's Covid lockdown in New Zealand prevented him from having playing time with Canterbury in the NPC.

To maintain his scrummaging work, he has done sled work and one-on-ones and two-on-ones, and this week has allowed him to get the full load to test his foot under pressure in eight-on-eight situations.

 

"That's been the final hurdle to get across and I've ticked that box now and I'm happy to be fully back in the mixer," he said.

 

Coming back against a strong scrummaging side like Argentina would ensure he would face a good challenge once getting onto the field.

 

"I'm ready to rip in and I'm feeling fairly good with all my fitness now," he said.

 

Having been asked to do waterboy duties in Sunday's Test against Australia, Moody accepted the role and quipped there was talk that he had acquired 'best ever' status in the role.

 

He added that his tee work for the goal-kickers allowed him to be the beneficiary of hot chocolates as the result of bets with kickers Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie, who each struggled to find their targets when goal-kicking.

 

"As you might have seen, I did score myself a few hot choccies from that game," he said.

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