All Blacks back to full strength for Argentina Tri-Nations Test

  • Richie Mo’unga reinstated; Beauden Barrett to fullback
  • Caleb Clarke, Jack Goodhue and Aaron Smith also return
New Zealand’s Richie Mo’unga
New Zealand’s Richie Mo’unga is back in the All Blacks side for the Tri-Nations game with Argentina. Photograph: Photosport/INPHO/REX/Shutterstock
New Zealand’s Richie Mo’unga is back in the All Blacks side for the Tri-Nations game with Argentina. Photograph: Photosport/INPHO/REX/Shutterstock
Reuters
Wed 11 Nov 2020 20.36 EST

New Zealand coach Ian Foster has again reshuffled his side for their Tri-Nations match against Argentina on Saturday, bringing back several veteran players and reverting to virtually the same side that destroyed Australia two weeks ago.

The All Blacks beat the Wallabies 43-5 two weeks ago in Sydney before a much-changed team, that included four debutants, was beaten 24-22 in Brisbane last Saturday.

“We were bitterly disappointed with the loss against Australia on the weekend, but we’ve taken a lot of lessons from that game,” said Foster, who has named arguably his strongest team to face the Pumas.

Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga has been reinstated and Beauden Barrett shifted to fullback after the pair’s tactical kicking and ability to exploit space helped them open up the Wallabies two weeks ago.

Caleb Clarke, Jack Goodhue and Aaron Smith have also been brought back into the backline, while Shannon Frizell has rejoined the first-choice loose forward combination with captain Sam Cane and Ardie Savea.

Loosehead prop Joe Moody also returned after he missed the last two games as he underwent head injury assessment protocols. Tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax has replaced Ofa Tuungafasi, who was banned on Wednesday for three weeks after being sent off in Brisbane.

Nepo Laulala was also rushed back into the squad as the replacement tighthead prop after he arrived mid-week following the birth of his second child.

The Pumas have been in Australia for more than a month and only played two warmup games against essentially an Australia A selection but Foster said he expected them to be competitive.

“The Argentinians are well coached by Mario Ledesma and we have a lot of respect for them,” Foster said. “They are well-prepared and this is their first test of 2020 so it’ll be a massive occasion for them and their country so we have to be ready.”

  • Follow the game on Saturday with the Guardian’s liveblog. Kick-off at Bankwest Stadium is 5:10pm AEDT/7:10pm NZDT