Ian Foster announced 11 changes to his starting line-up to take on Argentina this Saturday at Suncorp Stadium.
The All Blacks coached explained that, “with five Tests in a row and a six-day turnaround between these two Argentinian Tests, we were always going to make some selection changes…” as he confirmed his team selection today.
In the forwards, the entire pack has been changed after last Sunday’s game but the names are still very impressive.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 16, 2021
Joe Moody will add to his 51 caps and will bring experience to a relatively inexperienced front row where he will be joined by Samisoni Taukei’aho and Tyrel Lomax who have just 14 caps between them.
Brodie Retallick is rested for the day altogether and Scott Barrett will come off the bench meaning that the new lock pairing of Patrick Tuipulotu and Tupou Vaa’i will get a chance to impress.
Tuipulotu already has 38 caps to his name and will want to push his case that he should be higher up the pecking order.
In the back row, Ardie Savea rejoins the team and will wear the captain’s armband. He’ll be joined by Ethan Blackadder and Hoskins Sotutu.
TJ Perenara will be pulling the strings at half back and he’ll have Damian McKenzie outside him. The Chiefs playmaker gets his first start at flyhalf and he’ll want to bring his own flair and pace to the All Blacks game plan.
In the centres Quinn Tupaea will get his second cap and partner up with the experienced Rieko Ioane. Ioane has moved in from the wing and so in the back three George Bridge, Jordie Barrett and Will Jordan will start.
There’s well over 250 All Blacks’ caps on the bench including Codie Taylor, George Bower and Ofa Tuungafasi providing the front row cover.
It’s the first time Tuungafasi has been seen on All Blacks duty for a while as the talented prop has been recovering from a nasty knee injury that required surgery.
Scott Barrett and Luke Jacobson complete the forwards bench and then they are joined by Finlay Christie who will hope to get some decent minutes in his first Rugby Championship test.
Beauden Barrett and Braydon Ennor round out the bench.
Foster was clear that the All Blacks are not taking the Pumas lightly, even after keeping them scoreless last week.
“We are expecting a huge response,” commented Foster. “If we go into this Test match thinking it’s just going to happen for us like last week without earning the right to have the scoreboard in our favour, then we are in trouble.”
Foster seems to be thinking that with so many new players, any thoughts of complacency or assumption that the game will be the same as last time, are reduced.
There’s clearly plenty of competition within the squad and Foster will use the game as another opportunity to rest some players and also assess others and the combinations that are in action.
New Zealand match day team (15-1)
Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, George Bridge, Damian McKenzie, TJ Perenara, Hoskins Sotutu, Ardie Savea (capt), Ethan Blackadder, Tupou Vaa’i, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tyrel Lomax, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Joe Moody.
Reserves: Codie Taylor, George Bower, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Braydon Ennor.