Hansen wields All Black axe wildly

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:50

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: All Black coach Steve Hansen made a number of changes to the matchday 23 for the Rugby Championship Test against Argentina on Saturday.

In the forwards, Vaea Fifita gets his first start in his second Test - having been named at blindside flank.

Lock Luke Romano makes his first start of the year.

Ardie Savea starts at openside flank, with Sam Cane moving to the bench.

Prop Wyatt Crockett also returns to the matchday 23 on the bench.

In the backs, Thomas Perenara starts at scrumhalf, while Tawera Kerr-Barlow makes his first appearance of 2017 on the bench.

Anton Lienert-Brown has been named at No.13.

Nehe Milner-Skudder makes a welcome return to the All Blacks on the left wing, marking his first appearance since the 2015 World Cup.

Israel Dagg is on the right wing.

Ngani Laumape is back cover on the bench in the No.23 jersey.

"This Test match is all about us taking opportunities," Hansen said.

It's an opportunity for our players to grow individually and collectively as a team, not only in our preparation throughout the week, but in our performance on Saturday.

"We've taken some key learnings from our first two Tests against Australia and now it's an opportunity to take those learnings into a Test match against an old foe who we know pretty well now."

"Argentina are a dynamic, physical team who are growing their style of game. They are a proud people as well, so they'll be desperate [after their losses against South Africa] so we'll have to be ready for that challenge.

"We've had a great build up here in New Plymouth, it's a real rugby city and the people have made us feel really welcome, so we're all looking forward to Saturday."

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Ngani Laumape.

Date: Saturday, September 9
Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT; 04.35 Argentina time)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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