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Saturday’s Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship between the All Blacks and Argentina in Christchurch will be the first time the sides have met in New Zealand since their 2018 Test in Nelson.

Match details: All Blacks v Argentina, Saturday, 27 August, 7.45pm NZT, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch.

Played: 33
Won: All Blacks 31, Argentina 1, Draws 1
Last time: All Blacks 36, Argentina 13, 18 September 2021
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)

Winning the second Test against South Africa brought reward for the starting XV who are unchanged for the first Test against Argentina. A neck injury suffered in training by first five-eighths Beauden Barrett has meant a change on the bench where Blues and Taranaki first five-eighths/fullback utility Stephen Perofeta will have the chance to become All Black No 1206 as first five-eighths cover for Richie Mo’unga. It would complete a big 12 months for Perofeta who was the NPC player of the year in 2021 in the Taranaki Championship-winning side for whom he scored 172 points.

Argentine tighthead prop Joel Sclavi will face the All Blacks for the first time in his second starting appearance in what will be the sixth Test of his career. Left-wing Lucio Cinti is back in the side while Matías Orlando returns to second five-eighths to complete the three starting changes in the side from that which beat Australia 48-17 in San Juan. Seventy-Test veteran Guido Petti returns to the side after missing the Australian Tests, on the bench.

While Argentina lead the Championship, the statistics suggest they will face a different type of opponent when meeting the All Blacks. The New Zealanders are ahead of Argentina in goal-kicking (88.9 percent to 80), carries (105.0 to 80.0), carry metres (749.8 to 532.1), defenders beaten (24 to 11.5), passes (160.5 to 115), tackle percentage (88.2 to 84.6). Argentina have also made 143 tackles compared to 110 by the All Blacks and they have missed 22 compared to 13 by the New Zealanders. Argentina have managed 5.5 line breaks compared to New Zealand’s 4.5 and their lineout success is 93.1 per cent to 84.6 by the All Blacks. Argentina have conceded 9.5 turnovers while the All Blacks have 11.

“It’s great for us to be able to return to Christchurch. The All Blacks have such a rich history here, and it’s exciting to build on that.”

After their two losses against Ireland in July, the All Blacks need to beat Argentina to avoid suffering three consecutive losses at home – something that has never happened. The closest was three games without a win in 1949-50 – two losses to Australia and a draw with the 1950 British & Irish Lions.

TEAMS (caps in brackets)
All Blacks (* denotes debut): 1. Ethan de Groot (6), 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (13), 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Sam Whitelock (136), 5. Scott Barrett (52), 6. Shannon Frizell (19), 7. Sam Cane – captain (82), 8. Ardie Savea (64), 9. Aaron Smith (107), 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. Caleb Clarke (7), 12. David Havili (18), 13. Rieko Ioane (52), 14. Will Jordan (17), 15. Jordie Barrett (41).
Substitutes: 16. Codie Taylor (70), 17. George Bower (16), 18. Fletcher Newell (1), 19.Tupou Vaa’i (14), 20. Akira Ioane (16), 21. Finlay Christie (8), 22. Stephen Perofeta (*), 23. Quinn Tupaea (11).

Argentina: 1. Thomas Gallo (7), 2. Julian Montoya captain (79), 3. Joel Sclaivi (5), 4. Matias German (77), 5. Thomas Lavinini (71), 6. Juan Martin Gonzalez (13), 7. Marcos Kremer (49), 8. Pablo Matera (84), 9. Gonzalo Bertranou (42), 10. Santiago Races (24), 11. Lucio Cinti (9), 12. Matías Orlando (51), 13. Matías Moroni (62), 14. Emiliano Boffelli (43), 15. Juan Cruz Mallía (17).
Substitutes: 16. Santiago Socino (6), 17. Mayco Vivas (14), 18. Eduardo Beautiful (3), 19. Guido Petti (69), 20. Santiago Grondona (8), 21. Tomas Cubelli (84), 22. Tomás Albornoz (2), 23. Santiago Lamb (47).

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