Match details: All Blacks v Argentina, Saturday 18 September, 10.05pm NZT (8.05pm local), Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Won: All Blacks 30, Argentina 1, Drawn 1
Last time: All Blacks 39, Argentina 0 (12 September 2021)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
McKENZIE AT PIVOT
Damian McKenzie will start at first five-eighth for just the second time in his 35th Test for the All Blacks. With Richie Mo’unga currently in quarantine and Beauden Barrett the only other pivot option in the squad, McKenzie has been entrusted with the key playmaking role against Argentina. McKenzie’s last start at number 10 for the All Blacks was against France in Dunedin in 2018. That was a 49-14 victory where McKenzie crossed for two tries and landed seven conversions. McKenzie said he is looking forward to the challenge of running the cutter in Brisbane.
AVOIDING THE DONUT
After the Pumas historic 25-15 win over the All Blacks in Sydney in 2020, they have failed to score a point in their next two games against New Zealand – going down 38-0 in Newcastle last year and 39-0 on the Gold Coast last week. While the Pumas will take belief from their victory in Sydney last year, they will be eager to get on the board quickly in Brisbane to avoid another nil score line. In the outside backs, Emiliano Boffelli returns to the starting lineup in the 11 jersey and provides a genuine strike weapon out wide for the Pumas.
NEW LOCKING COMBO
The depth of the All Blacks second row will be on show in Brisbane with Patrick Tuipulotu and Tupou Vaa’i starting in the engine room and Scott Barrett on the bench. Last week’s captain Brodie Retallick will have a rest ahead of the two Tests against South Africa while Sam Whitelock will join the squad later in the tour. Tuipulotu said he was looking forward to linking with 21-year-old Tupou Vaa’i and making the most of his opportunity on return from injury. "This week I get my shot, so I want to make sure I put my hand up again and play well against a good Argentine side," Tuipulotu said.
SAVEA WARY OF ‘WOUNDED’ PUMAS
Ardie Savea is back as captain and will start in the seven jersey with Hoskins Sotutu at No.8 and Ethan Blackadder at blindside flanker. Savea said he enjoyed watching from the sideline and doing his water boy duties last week when the side beat Argentina 39-0. "What they did last week was pretty special, but for us, even though there have been changes, it's about backing them up. If we turn up thinking the same performance as last week will be enough, then we're kidding ourselves. We know the Argie boys are wounded beasts, so they're dangerous right now. If we don't turn up, it could be a long day," Savea said.
The All Blacks have scored 16,961 points in Test matches so are not too far away from topping 17,000 points.
All Blacks (caps in brackets):
1. Joe Moody (51) 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (5) 3. Tyrel Lomax (9) 4. Patrick Tuipulotu (38) 5. Tupou Vaa’i 6) 6. Ethan Blackadder (4) 7. Ardie Savea (53) – captain 8. Hoskins Sotutu (6) 9. TJ Perenara (72) 10. Damian McKenzie (34) 11. George Bridge (14) 12. Quinn Tupaea (2) 13. Rieko Ioane (41) 14. Will Jordan (7) 15. Jordie Barrett (29)
RESERVES: 16. Codie Taylor (61) 17. George Bower (6) 18. Ofa Tuungafasi (39) 19. Scott Barrett (45) 20. Luke Jacobson (8) 21. Finlay Christie (2) 22. Beauden Barrett (95) 23. Braydon Ennor (1)
1: Facundo Gigena 2: Julian Montoya (C) 3: Santiago Medrano 4: Matias Alemanno 5: Tomas Lavanini 6: Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso 7: Marcos Kremer 8: Pablo Matera 9: Gonzalo Bertranou 10: Santiago Carreras 11: Emiliano Boffelli 12: Santiago Chocobares 13: Lucio Cinti Luna 14: Santiago Cordero 15: Juan Cruz Mallia
RESERVES: 16: Santiago Socino, 17: Carlos Muzzio 18: Enrique Pieretto Heiland 19: Guido Petti 20: Tomas Lezana 21: Gonzalo Garcia 22: Domingo Miotti 23: Matais Moroni