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All Blacks team named for Test against Argentina

All Blacks team named for Investec Rugby Championship Test against Argentina
Ta’avao to become latest All Black, Perenara to start in his 50th Test

The All Blacks team has been named to play Argentina in the Investec Rugby Championship Test at Jose Amalfitani Stadium (Estadio Velez Sarsfield) in Buenos Aires on Saturday 29 September.

The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets. * new cap):

1. Karl Tu’inukuafe (7)
2. Codie Taylor (36)
3. Ofa Tuungafasi (20)
4. Samuel Whitelock (103) – captain
5. Scott Barrett (23)
6. Shannon Frizell (3)
7. Sam Cane (58)
8. Luke Whitelock (6)
9. TJ Perenara (49)
10. Beauden Barrett (67)
11. Rieko Ioane (18)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (47)
13. Ryan Crotty (39)
14. Waisake Naholo (22)
15. Ben Smith (72)
16. Nathan Harris (16)
17. Tim Perry (3)
18. Angus Ta’avao *
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (17)
20. Ardie Savea (29)
21. Aaron Smith (77)
22. Richie Mo’unga (2)
23. Anton Lienert-Brown (28)

The matchday 23 sees a change in the front row, with Ofa Tuungafasi moving to the starting tighthead position, in for Owen Franks, and new All Black Angus Ta’avao set to make his All Blacks Test debut from the bench. Shannon Frizell is at blindside flanker and Luke Whitelock at number eight. The squad will be captained by 103-Test lock Samuel Whitelock.

In the backs, TJ Perenara will start at halfback in what will be his 50th Test in the black jersey, with Aaron Smith moving to the bench. Sonny Bill Williams makes his eagerly-awaited return to the All Blacks at 12, with Ryan Crotty moving out to centre. Waisake Naholo is back in the number 14 jersey and Ben Smith moves back to fullback. Richie Mo’unga and Anton Lienert-Brown provide back cover from the bench.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said the team had recovered well this week in Buenos Aires after travelling from New Zealand and was preparing for what would be the first of two tough away games for the All Blacks.

“We’ve picked what we believe is the best team for this particular Test match. Argentina are a very good side who have shown they can win both away and at home.  They’re full of confidence and self-belief which will make them a very dangerous beast,” he said.

“From a selection point of view, we’ve always seen these next two Test matches as a great opportunity to replicate the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup, where we’ll have to beat quality teams back-to-back if we are to keep advancing in the Tournament. One of the keys to achieving this will be a consistency of selection, and that’s why we haven’t made too many changes this week.”

Hansen added: “We’ve taken some key learnings from the loss to South Africa, which we look forward to implementing on Saturday.  Our week’s preparation starts off the field with our individual and collective clarity and builds during the week through our trainings.  So far this week this has been very pleasing and everyone’s been working really hard.  We’re excited by Saturday’s challenge and can’t wait for kick off.

“We’d also like to thank the people of Buenos Aires for their incredible hospitality this week. It’s a fantastic place to visit and we really enjoy our time here.”

Mini bio – Angus Ta’avao

28-year-old prop Angus Ta’avao is living proof that hard work and patience can pay dividends. Ta’avao first came to prominence when he played for New Zealand Under 20 in Argentina in 2010 and made his debut for Auckland in the same year. He signed for the Blues for the 2012 Investec Super Rugby season playing for the side through to the 2015 season before looking to further his opportunities in Australia. He played for the Waratahs for two seasons before heading back home to play for Taranaki in the Mitre 10 Cup, but without a Super Rugby contract in 2018.  A timely call from Chiefs coach Colin Cooper saw him get regular game time before being called into the All Blacks after an injury to prop Joe Moody.

Key facts

  • Angus Ta’avao will become All Black number 1175 when he comes off the bench, as expected, on Saturday.
  • As well as Perenara’s 50th Test, Ryan Crotty will be playing his 40th and Ardie Savea his 30th.
  • Samuel Whitelock will be captaining the All Blacks for the fifth time.
  • The All Blacks and Argentina have played each other 27 times since 1976 with the All Blacks winning 26 times and a 21-all draw in Buenos Aires in 1985.
  • Beauden Barrett has played Argentina ten times and kicked 19 conversions against the Pumas. Only two players have more: Grant Fox with 20 and Wallaby Bernard Foley with 24. Barrett has also scored 23 tries in the 10 jersey, one behind the world record 24 scored by Daniel Carter.
  • The All Blacks won The Rugby Championship in 2012 – 2014 and again in 2016 and 2017 (as well as a Rugby Championship “Grand Slam” in 2012 – 2013 and 2016-2017).
  • The match will kick off at 7.40PM local time (11.40AM Sunday morning NZT) and will be broadcast in New Zealand LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on SKY Sport.

The Investec Rugby Championship – All Blacks games

1. Australia 13 All Blacks 38. Saturday 18 August, ANZ Stadium, SYDNEY
2. All Blacks 40 Australia 12. Saturday 25 August, Eden Park, AUCKLAND
3. All Blacks 46 Argentina 24. Saturday 8 September, Trafalgar Park, NELSON
4. All Blacks 34 South Africa 36. Sat 15 September, Westpac Stadium, WELLINGTON
5. vs. ARGENTINA. Saturday 29 September, 7.40PM, Jose Amalfitani Stadium (Estadio Velez Sarsfield), BUENOS AIRES
6. vs. SOUTH AFRICA. Saturday 6 October, 5.05PM, Loftus Versfeld, PRETORIA

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