Head coach Steve Hansen has made two changes to his team to take on Argentina in La Plata this Saturday. Veteren hooker Andrew Hore comes in for Dane Coles, while fit-again Aaron Cruden replaces the injured Dan Carter.
Cruden, who was injured in the tournament opener against Australia, has been promoted to the All Blacks’ leadership group, and Hansen is confident he can thrive in that environment.
“I think he’s really enjoying knowing now he’s really established in this team and he can play rugby that he wants to play at a certain standard at international level,” said the head coach.
Hore’s inclusion is a bit of a surprise as Hansen has previously indicated that his international career was drawing to a close. With fellow veteran Kevin Mealamu on the bench, it would appear youngster Dane Coles is being rested for the final, potentially series-defining, game against South Africa.
New Zealand team to play Argentina, La Plata, Sat KO 19.40 (local time)
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Charlie Piutau.