Three changes to All Blacks for Argentina match

Akira Ioane will start at No 6 for the All Blacks against Argentina. Photo: Getty
Akira Ioane will start at No 6 for the All Blacks against Argentina. Photo: Getty

New Zealand coach Ian Foster resisted making sweeping changes to his side that were beaten 25-15 by Argentina in their previous Tri-Nations match, with just three changes for the rematch in Newcastle on Saturday.

The All Blacks were outplayed by the Pumas in Sydney, giving the South American side their first victory over the three-time World Cup winners.

It also came a week after the All Blacks were beaten 24-22 by the Wallabies in Brisbane, rare back-to-back defeats which caused intense criticism of Foster and the team in rugby-mad New Zealand.

The coach, however, chose to largely keep faith with the side that were humbled by the Pumas with Akira Ioane, Scott Barrett and Nepo Laulala the only changes to the starting side.

Ioane has replaced Shannon Frizell at blindside flanker, lock Barrett has been brought in for Patrick Tuipulotu, and Laulala reverts to the starting tighthead prop role for Tyrel Lomax after coming off the bench in Sydney.

Foster said he felt he had to give the players from the last match a chance to redeem themselves and try to put one hand on the Tri-Nations trophy.

"There's a real determination in the team to perform well, not only for ourselves, but also our families and friends at home and our country," Foster said in a statement.

Loosehead prop Joe Moody will also make his 50th test appearance for the side.

"He's a key part of our group," Foster added.

"He's rock solid and goes about his work in a really good way. He's a popular member of the team and it's a great achievement for him."

The All Blacks can seize the advantage in the Tri-Nations if they beat the Pumas with a bonus point. All three sides are on six competition points.

The final game is on December 5 between the Wallabies and Pumas.

All Blacks (test caps in brackets): Joe Moody (49),  Dane Coles (73), Nepo Laulala (28), Scott Barrett (39), Samuel Whitelock (121), Akira Ioane (1), Sam Cane (73) - captain, Ardie Savea (48), Aaron Smith (96), Richie Mo'unga (21), Caleb Clarke (4), Jack Goodhue (17), Anton Lienert-Brown (48), Jordie Barrett (22), Beauden Barrett (88). Reserves: Codie Taylor (56),  Karl Tu'inukuafe (16), Tyrel Lomax (5), Patrick Tuipulotu (34), Hoskins Sotutu (4), TJ Perenara (68), Rieko Ioane (33), Will Jordan (1).


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