Barrett: We're equipped for banana skin game
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks talisman Beauden Barrett believes his side is well prepared for the unpredictable Argentina side, even in the absence of some first-choice players.
All Blacks head to Buenos Aires without locks Samuel Whitelock and Brodie Retallick, loose forwards Liam Squire and Sam Cane and centre Ryan Crotty.
With a core of the All Blacks' experience left out of the Argentina Test, there was always a danger of a repeat of last year's loss to Ireland in Chicago under circumstances that bore a resemblance.
However, coach Steve Hansen felt the side was better equipped to cope and flyhalf Barrett agreed.
"We've learnt a lot about potential banana skin games [since Chicago] and it's about keeping our standards high no matter what team we play," Barrett told reporters, adding: "It's no exception this weekend because Argentina are a very good side and they pushed us for 60 minutes in that New Plymouth Test so we've got enough to work on with our own game to be worried about anything else.
"Among us leaders who are travelling we probably have added responsibility but it's an opportunity for others to stand up as well, not just from a leadership point of view but performance.
"Some guys will get a crack that they may not have this year and that's great for this team,"
Barrett was not part of Hansen's initial travelling squad, but as a result of Lima Sopoaga's paternity leave for the birth of his and his wife's first child, the flyhalf received late call-up on Thursday to join the team.
"Obviously family comes first and it's exciting for Lima and if I was in his position that's exactly where I'd want to be expecting my first child.
"So here I am and excited to be going to Argentina so I can't wait," he said at Auckland Airport before the team's departure on Friday.
Barrett said while the changing time zones at this stage of the season were always an issue, by leaving on Friday (NZT) it gave the All Blacks a couple of extra days to get their bodies used to the time zone they were in before a good week of preparation in Buenos Aires.
"We can't wait to get over there and play Argentina in a place where it is difficult to play. We're aware of the challenge with their fans and if we give them a sniff early they're a tough team to put away,"