New Zealand v Argentina – Nelson

Up and coming star flyhalf Richie Mo’unga will get his chance to put some pressure on regular flyhalf Beauden Barrett as the 24-year-old Mo’unga will start in the number 10 jersey this weekend against Argentina in Nelson.

Mo’unga had a massive Super Rugby campaign and coach Steve Hansen says the time is right to blood the youngster. Mo’unga is one of eight changes Hansen made to his team.

Among the changes lock Scott Barrett will partner Brodie Retallick with Sam Whitelock as lineout cover on the bench.

Sam Cane is fit to play, but Hansen decided to leave him out of the match 23 with Ardie Savea taking his place in the number seven jersey. Luke Whitelock will cover the loose forward position on the bench.

Ben Smith returns to his favourite position at fullback to make way for Nehe Milner-Skudder who returns to test rugby after his last test almost a year ago against South Africa in Cape Town where he injured his shoulder.

Scrumhalf TJ Perenara will occupy the number 9 jersey as Aaron Smith gets a rest for the weekend’s clash.

Karl Tu’inukuafe (loosehead prop) will get his first start in his sixth test after Joe Moody broke his thumb in the match against Australia. Tim Perry will cover on the bench.

Argentina on the other side has made four changes as they pursue their first ever victory over the All Blacks.

Garcia Botta enters the front row to replace Juan Figallo who returned to his club Saracens, while Tomas Lezana will start on the flank with Pablo Matera dropping to the bench.

Scrumhalf Martin Landajo gets his first start since playing Scotland in June with Tomas Cubelli in the reserves, while Jeronimo de la Fuenta replaces Bautista Ezcurra in the centres.

On the bench there are a few new faces in the form of Juan Pablo Zeiss, Julian Montayo and Gaston Cortes.

In their previous 26 test matches played against each other, the closest the Pumas have come was a 21-all draw in 1985.

History will be against the men from South America, but the win against the Springboks will give them confidence to believe that they at the very least can be competitive.

Teams:

New Zealand

15 Ben Smith; 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Waisake Naholo; 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 TJ Perenara; 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Shannon Frizell; 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick; 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe

Subtitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Argentina

15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Tomas Lezana, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti,  3 Chaparro Tetaz, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Garcia Botta

Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Gaston Cortez, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Bautista Ezcurra, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia

Prediction – All Blacks by 15

 By Carl Coertzen – 06/09/18

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