All Blacks’ starters unchanged for 2nd test vs Argentina

September 1, 2022 GMT
New Zealand's head coach Ian Foster holds the ball as his team warms up for the Rugby Championship test between South Africa and New Zealand at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
New Zealand's head coach Ian Foster holds the ball as his team warms up for the Rugby Championship test between South Africa and New Zealand at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
New Zealand's head coach Ian Foster holds the ball as his team warms up for the Rugby Championship test between South Africa and New Zealand at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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New Zealand's head coach Ian Foster holds the ball as his team warms up for the Rugby Championship test between South Africa and New Zealand at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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New Zealand's head coach Ian Foster holds the ball as his team warms up for the Rugby Championship test between South Africa and New Zealand at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has named an unchanged starting lineup for Saturday’s Rugby Championship test against Argentina at Hamilton, despite last week’s 25-18 loss to the Pumas which plunged the All Blacks to three straight home defeats for the first time in their history.

Foster has made his only changes on the bench where Dane Coles takes over from Codie Taylor as replacement hooker, lock Brodie Retallick returns from a facial injury sustained against Ireland in July, flanker Dalton Papali’i is recalled and flyhalf Beauden Barrett is back from a neck injury.

The starting lineup is also the one which beat South Africa 35-23 in Johannesburg three weeks ago, marking a rare occasion on which Foster has named the same 15 for three consecutive tests. In comments during the week Foster and captain Sam Cane stressed the need for consistency.

“We are obviously looking to build parts of our game and this week is another chance to do that,” Foster said in a statement Thursday after the team announcement. “This year’s Rugby Championship is extremely tight and that makes this weekend’s test an exciting opportunity.

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“As a group this has been a week of refining areas where we know we can be better. It has been a good preparation in Hamilton so far and the hard work will need to continue so that we get a performance everyone can be proud of.”

Cane has personally been under scrutiny after recent poor form. He was replaced in the 66th minute last weekend after a defensive mis-read saw him penalized for tackling an opponent without the ball.

Cane said the All Blacks cannot dwell on recent losses.

“I think it just tests your resilience and your character,” he said. “You’ve got to pick yourself back up and focus on what’s important, and go again.”

Meanwhile, Argentina head coach Michael Cheika has made four changes to his lineup for Saturday’s match.

Lock Guido Petti, backrower Santiago Grondona, scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli and winger Santiago Cordero all are promoted from the bench to the starting 15.

In turn lock Matias Alemanno, scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou, flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez — a try-scorer in the first test — and winger Lucio Cinto drop from the starting lineup to the bench. Flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta joins the reserves, displacing Tomás Albornoz.

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Cheika said beating New Zealand at home twice in a row would be a huge task.

“We know it’s difficult,” Cheika said “There’s a little bit there because Ireland were able to do it a couple of times this year so that give us some hope around how to look at doing it.

“We’ve tried to prepare and try that when it’s difficult we enjoy it. When the challenge is big or situation in a game is tough that we try and thrive in that moment.”

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Lineups:

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith; Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (captain), Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Tyrel Lomax, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ethan de Groot. Reserves: Dane Coles, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Brodie Retallick, Dalton Papali’i, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Quinn Tupaea.

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Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia, Emiliano Boffelli, Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Santiago Cordero, Santiago Carreras, Tomas Cubelli; Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Santiago Grondona, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Joel Sclavi, Julian Montoya (captain), Thomas Gallo. Reserves: Santiago Socino, Mayco Vivas, Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Gonzalo Bertranou, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Lucio Cinto.

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