Blues back Stephen Perofeta has been called up for an All Blacks debut with Beauden Barrett missing from Ian Foster’s 23 to face Argentina on Saturday.
Perofeta has been named on the bench with Richie Mo’unga to start at No.10. Barrett was not selected due to a neck injury suffered at training on Tuesday, having also hurt his neck during the first Test loss to the Springboks.
It is an otherwise unchanged 23 from the team that upset the Boks at Ellis Park 12 days ago.
“It’s great for us to be able to return to Christchurch,” Foster said in a statement. “The All Blacks have such a rich history here and it’s exciting to build on that.
“The recent form of Argentina makes this a Test one that we are looking forward to. And the fact that the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship is incredibly even means this Test is vital to us.”
Argentina coach Michael Cheika made three changes to his starting line-up.
Two of the changes and an overhaul of the bench were forced by Cheika’s decision to leave front-row forwards Francisco Gomez Kodela, Agustin Creevy and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro as well as winger Juan Imhoff out of the squad for the New Zealand trip.
Although Argentina lead the Rugby Championship standings after the first two rounds, Cheika knows he must manage the game time of his more experienced players with half an eye on next year’s World Cup.
Joel Sclavi moves up from the bench to replace Gomez Kodela at tighthead prop and Lucio Cinti, nominally a centre, will start on the left wing in place of Imhoff, bringing a bit more bulk to the Pumas backline in Christchurch.
The third change was an enforced tweak to the midfield, Matias Orlando coming in at inside centre to partner Matias Moroni in place of Jeronimo de la Fuente, who pulled a hamstring in the act of scoring a try against the Wallabies.
All Blacks match-day 23 (Test caps in brackets):
1.Ethan de Groot (6)
2.Samisoni Taukei’aho (13)
3.Tyrel Lomax (16)
4.Sam Whitelock (136)
5.Scott Barrett (52)
6.Shannon Frizell (19)
7.Sam Cane © (82)
8.Ardie Savea (64)
9.Aaron Smith (107)
10.Richie Mo’unga (37)
11.Caleb Clarke (7)
12.David Havili (18)
13.Rieko Ioane (52)
14.Will Jordan (17)
15.Jordie Barrett (41)
16.Codie Taylor (70)
17.George Bower (16)
18.Fletcher Newell (1)
19.Tupou Vaa’i (14)
20.Akira Ioane (16)
21.Finlay Christie (8)
22.Stephen Perofeta * debut
23.Quinn Tupaea (11)
Team: 15-Juan Cruz Mallia, 14-Emiliano Boffelli, 13-Matias Moroni, 12-Matias Orlando, 11-Lucio Cinti, 10-Santiago Carreras, 9-Gonzalo Bertranou, 8-Pablo Matera, 7-Marcos Kremer, 6-Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5-Tomas Lavanini, 4-Matias Alemanno, 3-Joel Sclavi, 2-Julian Montoya (captain), 1-Thomas Gallo
Replacements: 16-Santiago Socino, 17-Mayco Vivas, 18-Eduardo Bello, 19-Guido Petti, 20-Santiago Grondona, 21-Tomas Cubeli, 22-Tomas Albornoz, 23-Santiago Cordero.
Rugby – The Roar