McKenzie set for NZ debut

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 06:48
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has shaken up the All Blacks for the Rugby Championship Test against Argentina on Saturday as he looks to blood young talent.

With the title already wrapped up, Hansen named an experimental side featuring four changes to the starting XV and another five on the bench.

The World Cup-winning coach said he wanted to give his young players experience and increase the squad's depth.

"At some point we've got to play these people and trust them. We think they're ready," he said.

Liam Squire gets his first Test start at blindside flank after earning three caps from the bench, replacing the injured Jerome Kaino.

Lock Patrick Tuipulotu comes on for Sam Whitelock, who goes onto the bench, while centre Malakai Fekitoa has been dropped from the matchday squad entirely in favour of Anton Lienert-Brown.

TJ Perenara's strong form helping the Hurricanes to the Super Rugby title has finally been rewarded with a start at scrumhalf in place of Aaron Smith.

The most notable inclusion on the bench is dynamic Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie, who is set to make his international debut if Beauden Barrett is given a breather late in the match.

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Damian McKenzie.

Date: Saturday, October 1
Venue: Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Kick-off: 19.10 (22.10 GMT; 11.10 NZST Sunday, October 2)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Agence France-Presse

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