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All you need to know: All Blacks v Argentina

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 8 Jul 2023, 10:34am

All you need to know: All Blacks v Argentina

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 8 Jul 2023, 10:34am

All you need to know ahead of the the All Blacks’ first test of the year against Argentina at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza on Sunday, 9 July (kickoff at 7.10am):

Damian McKenzie was handed an unexpected start at first-five ahead of Richie Mo’unga in the New Zealand team facing Argentina on Sunday in the opening round of the Rugby Championship.

McKenzie played in Japan last year in a move which might have signalled the end of his All Blacks career but he has had an exceptional season in which he led the Chiefs to the Super Rugby Pacific final.

The All Blacks selectors know what Mo’unga can do, so have taken the chance to try out McKenzie while naming the out-of-form Beauden Barrett at fullback. At the same time, they appear to be keeping under wraps their best 15 which will start against the world champion Springboks in Wellington next weekend.

Chiefs winger Emoni Narawa will make his test debut and lock Josh Lord will play his third test and first since 2021 in a second-row partnership with Scott Barrett. Veteran locks Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick have been omitted from the match 23 in another sign of planning for the South Africa match.

Tupou Vaa’i is on the bench to cover lock.

Aaron Smith will play his 115th test at halfback and Jordie Barrett once again will start at at No 12 in an injury-hit midfield.

Dane Coles was at hooker for his 85th test while Samisoni Taukei’aho also has been left out of the match 23.

“We have taken the need to build combinations in a vital year and balanced it with the need to manage the squad after Super Rugby,” coach Ian Foster said. “This is obviously a massive year and we are really confident in the way that we’ve been building. We have had a short buildup but an effective one.”

Saturday’s match will be the first ever played in Mendoza and all 42,500 seats were sold two months before the match.

Damian McKenzie hasn't played for the All Blacks since 2021. Photo / Getty ImagesDamian McKenzie hasn't played for the All Blacks since 2021. Photo / Getty Images


All Blacks: Beauden Barrett, Emoni Narawa, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Caleb Clarke, Damian McKenzie, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (c), Shannon Frizell, Josh Lord, Scott Barrett, Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles, Ethan de Groot.

Reserves: Codie Taylor, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Tupou Vaa’i, Dalton Papali’i, Finlay Christie, Richie Mo’unga, Braydon Ennor.

Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Bautista Delguy, Matias Moroni, Lucio Cinti, Mateo Carreras, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou, Rodrigo Bruni, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Lucio Sordoni, Julian Montoya (c), Thomas Gallo.

Reserves: Agustin Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Eduardo Bello, Pedro Rubiolo, Santiago Grondona, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Nicolas Sanchez, Matias Orlando.


All Blacks: $1.18

Argentina: $4.40

Draw: $26.00

Match officials:

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)

Assistant Referee 1: Nic Berry (Australia)

Assistant Referee 2: Jordan Way (Australia)

TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

Last five tests:

28 November 2020: All Blacks 38-0 Argentina - Newcastle

11 September 2021: All Blacks 39-0 Argentina - Gold Coast

18 September 2021: All Blacks 36-13 Argentina - Brisbane

27 August 2022: All Blacks 18-25 Argentina - Christchurch

3 September 2022: All Blacks 53-3 Argentina - Hamilton

Form (last five tests):

All Blacks: WWWWD

Argentina: LLWLL


According to the Weather Channel, the weather in Mendoza is set to be clear, with a high 15C.

Catching the action:

The Herald will be live blogging the test, while radio commentary is running live on Newstalk ZB, Gold Sport and iHeartRadio.

The match is screening on Sky Sport 1 and live streaming on Sky Sport Now.

The Alternative Commentary Collective will have live coverage on iHeart Radio, Hauraki and Sky Sport Pop-Up 1.

- with AP

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