Match details: All Blacks v Argentina, Sunday 30 September, 11.40am (NZT), Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Matches played: 27
All Blacks won: 26
Last match: All Blacks 46, Argentina 24 (September 8, 2018)
Largest All Blacks winning margin: 93-8 (1997)
The All Blacks 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. 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.
QUICK TAP: WILLIAMS NERVOUS BUT EXCITED BY CHALLENGE
While long considered one of the pillars of Argentinian rugby, their scrum will face a stiff examination from the All Blacks. Scrum doctor Mike Cron has got the All Blacks scrum fizzing in the Rugby Championship with a perfect 22 out of 22 scrums won. Argentina have the worst success rate out of any team in the competition with a 75% success rate at scrum time. The All Blacks do have a new combination up front though with Ofa Tuungafasi starting in place of the rested Owen Franks and Angus Ta’avao set for his All Blacks debut from the pine.
HISTORIC TRIFECTA BECKONS
Argentina have already done what the All Blacks haven’t managed to do so far in the Rugby Championship by defeating both South Africa and Australia. A win over the All Blacks in Buenos Aires will complete a historic trifecta for the South American nation. Argentina come into the clash brimming with confidence after pushing the All Blacks for much of their last clash in Nelson and will be spurred on by a passionate home crowd at Velez Sarsfield.
We are set for a huge clash in the fifteen jersey with Ben Smith taking on classy Pumas operator Emilliano Boffelli. Although splitting his time between the right wing and fullback, Smith has racked up the most carries (53) and clean breaks (14) of any player in the competition. Boffelli has emerged as one of the Pumas key attacking weapons over the past couple of seasons and showed his class with a well-taken try against the All Blacks in Nelson. He also has the ability to land long range shots at goal and will look to punish the All Blacks if they infringe up to 50 metres out from their line.
FAST FACT (Opta)
The All Blacks have beaten the Pumas by a double-figure margin in their last five games hosted in Argentina, averaging 39 points scored per match in this time.
After the Springboks 23-12 win over Australia, the equation is pretty simple for the All Blacks to secure the 2018 Investec Rugby Championship title – beat Argentina in Buenos Aires. South Africa's victory has lifted them to 14 points on the ladder while the All Blacks sit on a 16. A victory will lift them to 20 points and an unassailable lead at the top of the Rugby Championship ladder with a week to spare. A draw or a loss in Buenos Aires means we are headed for a Rugby Championship title-decider in Pretoria next week.
1: Nahuel Tetaz-Chaparro 2: Agustin Creevy 3: Ramiro Herrera 4: Guido Petti 5: Tomas Lavanini 6: Pablo Matera 7: Marcos Kremer 8: Javier Ortega-Desio 9: Gonzalo Bertranou 10: Nicolas Sanchez 11: Matias Moroni 12: Bautista Ezcurra 13: Jeronimo De Le Fuente 14: Bautista Delguy 15: Emilliano Boffelli
Reserves: Julian Montoya, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Tomas Cubelli, Matias Orlando, Sebastian Cancelliere
All Blacks (caps in brackets)
1. Karl Tu'inukuafe (7) 2. Codie Taylor (36) 3. Ofa Tuungafasi (20) 4. Samuel Whitelock (103) - captain 5. Scott Barrett (23) 6. Shannon Frizell (3) 7. Sam Cane (58) 8. Luke Whitelock (6) 9. TJ Perenara (49) 10. Beauden Barrett (67) 11. Rieko Ioane (18) 12. Sonny Bill Williams (47) 13. Ryan Crotty (39) 14. Waisake Naholo (22) 15. Ben Smith (72)
Reserves: 16. Nathan Harris (16) 17. Tim Perry (3) 18. Angus Ta'avao * 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (17) 20. Ardie Savea (29) 21. Aaron Smith (77) 22. Richie Mo'unga (2) 23. Anton Lienert-Brown (28)
With @SonnyBWilliams back in the All Blacks number 1?2? jersey, catch up with him and the team as preparation for the clash with Argentina continues. ??#ARGvNZL pic.twitter.com/QmaIMPshnh— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 27, 2018