All Blacks make mass changes for Pumas rematch

Publish Date
Friday, 17 September 2021, 8:27AM
Photosport

Photosport

The All Blacks have made mass changes to the starting side to face the Pumas in their rematch on Saturday night.

In the starting front row, Joe Moody starts at No 1 after his return to the All Blacks off the bench last week, with hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho making his first test start. Tyrel Lomax will start in the No 3 jersey.

There is also a welcome return to the All Blacks for prop Ofa Tuungafasi who will return to international rugby via the bench, following his recovery from knee surgery. Prop George Bower will also bolster the front row from the reserves bench.

In the second row, Patrick Tuipulotu is back from a groin strain and will start alongside Tupou Vaa'i. Scott Barrett will provide impact from the bench.

In the loose forwards, Ethan Blackadder and Hoskins Sotutu will make their second test starts at blindside flanker and No 8, while Ardie Savea returns as captain in the No 7 jersey. Luke Jacobson is the loose forward cover.

In the backs, TJ Perenara is at halfback with Finlay Christie, making his first appearance in the Rugby Championship, at reserve halfback. Damian McKenzie has been named to start his second test in the playmaker No 10 jersey while Quinn Tupaea gets his second test start at 12 inside the experienced Rieko Ioane.

Commenting on the team selected for the second test against Argentina, All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said: "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. Five tests in a row demanded that. But the good thing is that we have a group that has been focussing on the same opposition for the last two weeks, so our preparation time hasn't been compromised.

"We are expecting a huge response from Argentina and we have to make sure we are prepared for that because we know what a wounded beast is like. The key is not so much how they respond, but how we respond. 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."

All Blacks team to face Pumas at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Saturday (kickoff at 10.05pm NZT):

1. Joe Moody (51)
2. Samisoni Taukei'aho (5)
3. Tyrel Lomax (9)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (38)
5. Tupou Vaa'i (6)
6. Ethan Blackadder (4)
7. Ardie Savea (53) – captain
8. Hoskins Sotutu (6)
9. TJ Perenara (72)
10. Damian McKenzie (34)
11. George Bridge (14)
12. Quinn Tupaea (2)
13. Rieko Ioane (41)
14. Will Jordan (7)
15. Jordie Barrett (29)

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission