Lock Brodie Retallick will captain New Zealand for the first time in the absence of Ardie Savea when the All Blacks take on Argentina in the Rugby Championship on Australia’s Gold Coast on Sunday.
Loose forward Savea suffered a head knock in the 38-21 defeat of the Wallabies in Perth last weekend and is replaced at the back of the scrum by Luke Jacobson.
Retallick will become the fourth captain used by the All Blacks in seven Tests this season, with Sam Whitelock yet to return after missing to start of the overseas tour for the birth of a child.
Whitelock has been the regular skipper in the absence of Sam Cane who is unavailable until after the Rugby Championship due to a pectoral injury suffered last year, but Aaron Smith also led the team in the first Test against Fiji.
Coach Ian Foster has made six changes to his starting side but fullback Jordie Barrett retained his place after successfully appealing against the red card he was shown against Australia.
Asafo Aumua starts at hooker in place of Codie Taylor, who also suffered a head knock against the Wallabies, while prop Joe Moody was named on the bench for his first runout of the year after recovering from foot surgery.
Scrumhalf TJ Perenara was promoted from the bench to partner Beauden Barrett in the halves, while Sevu Reece and George Bridge will start on the wings in place of Will Jordan and Rieko Ioane.
Like Whitelock, fellow stars Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga are yet to return after getting leave for the arrival of babies.
Retallick, who becomes the 71st All Blacks captain in his 87th Test.
“Brodie is a great leader in this team and we don’t take his leadership for granted,” head coach Ian Foster said. “We think this is a great honor for him and he and his family can be hugely proud.””The key to selection this week has been about managing the player workload across the whole squad, which I think all teams will be doing in the championship,” Foster said.
“We’ve had a great build-up in Perth and we’re looking forward to getting to Queensland to finish our preparation.
“We want to ensure we have a fresh, excited squad ready to play a physical and passionate Argentinian team.”
They’ve had a tough time on the road with matches in Europe and South Africa before coming to Australia. But we know from last year that when they spend a lot of time together it really unifies them, so we’re expecting a torrid game.”
Argentina’s Pumas got their first ever win against New Zealand last season in the annual southern hemisphere test championship.
New Zealand team to play Argentina:
Jordie Barrett, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown, David Havili, George Bridge, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Luke Jacobson, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Asafo Aumua, Karl Tu’inukuafe. Res: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Joe Moody, Tyrel Lomax,Tupou Vaa’i, Ethan Blackadder, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie, Rieko Ioane.