Unchanged All Blacks want Pumas payback

·3-min read

New Zealanders might have lost faith in him, but All Blacks coach Ian Foster is holding steady with the side that lost to Argentina last week, naming an unchanged team for Saturday's rematch.

Another All Blacks defeat has brought another week of turmoil for Foster's side, who have slumped back to their worst ranking of world No.5.

New Zealand's 25-18 defeat to Argentina last weekend in Christchurch was the first time in history the All Blacks have lost three straight Tests on home soil.

Speaking from Hamilton on Thursday, Foster said he "expected a response" on matchday.

"We think the best way to build confidence in those key pressure moments is to put the guys out there who have just been through it, who've felt it," he said.

That means Richie Mo'unga will retain his starting place despite the return to fitness of rival No.10 Beauden Barrett.

Mo'unga admitted the All Blacks "could have been smarter" against Argentina, too often running the ball rather than kicking.

Barrett has been elevated to the bench alongside Brodie Retallick and Dane Coles - a trio with 283 Tests of experience - with Dalton Papali'i completing four changes to the squad.

Argentina coach Michael Cheika, meanwhile, has made four changes to his line-up.

Lock Guido Petti, back-rower Santiago Grondona, halfback Tomas Cubelli and winger Santiago Cordero all are promoted from the bench to the starting 15.

"Ireland were able to do it (beat New Zealand) a couple of times this year so that give us some hope around how to look at doing it," Cheika said.

"When the challenge is big or situation in a game is tough that we try and thrive in that moment."

New Zealand's shock loss to the Pumas came just a week after the New Zealand Rugby board emphatically backed Foster to stay on to next year's World Cup, despite desire from many fans to see change.

"For those that want blood, I guess we haven't given it," Foster said, acknowledging public sentiment.

"But we are hurting.

"While we are bitterly disappointed with the result ... we were doing a whole lot of good stuff.

"Our scrum was strong. The lineout functioned really really well ... We're backing that."

Despite their limp performances, several All Blacks were talking a huge game ahead of the Waikato Stadium clash.

Aaron Smith, who will play his 109th Test, said the animosity towards the team was nothing compared with the disappointment from inside the camp.

"Everyone's got the knives out throwing them at us. We don't mind that," he said.

"We're walking towards that.

"The pressure we're putting on ourselves to get better, it's coming. Trust me. There's a lot of boys looking forward to a chance to put this right."

NEW ZEALAND: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (capt), 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.

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 (capt), Thomas Gallo. Reserves: Santiago Socino, Mayco Vivas, Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Gonzalo Bertranou, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Lucio Cinto.