Pile into the ruck with Rugby Union tips as Argentina make their first appearance of the Tri-Nations against an All Blacks side out for redemption.
17:10 (AEDT), Sat 14th Nov @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney
History: Played 29: New Zealand 28 V Argentina 0 (1 Draw)
Last meeting: July 20, 2019: New Zealand 20 d Argentina 16 at Jose Amalfitani Stadium
Final Thoughts: Argentina gear up for their first Test match of 2020 against a New Zealand side bristling from a rare loss to Australia last weekend.
The All Blacks had progressively built into beast mode, putting aside their first-up draw with the Wallabies in Wellington with a comprehensive 27-7 victory over the green-and-golds in Auckland and a record-breaking 43-5 victory in Sydney.
But after making wholesale line-up changes for the Brisbane ‘dead-rubber’, the ABs were humbled 24-22. Red and yellow cards overshadowed the contest, but the undeniable reality was the overwhelming favourites were disjointed and outplayed.
Coach Ian Foster has responded by naming his strongest possible side. Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga, Jack Goodhue and Caleb Clarke all return to the starting backline. Meanwhile, Beauden Barrett reverts to fullback and Jordie Barrett switches back to the wing. In the pack, Shannon Frizell, Patrick Tuipulotu, Dane Coles and Joe Moody will start after missing last week.
Argentina’s line-up boasts plenty of experience and the customary quotient of flair. Halves Tomas Cubelli and Nicolas Sanchez – who has scored tries in three of his last five Tests against the All Blacks – will steer the ship. Outstanding flanker Pablo Matera captains the Pumas.
The Pumas, who have ex-Wallabies coach Michael Cheika on board, thrashed a Rugby Australia XV in their recent warm-up matches.
Argentina are still searching for their maiden win over New Zealand. The Pumas’ best result is a draw way back in 1985.
But after losing 14 of their last 15 (and the last six straight) to the All Blacks by margins of 15 points or more, Argentina pushed the then-world champs all the way in a 20-16 result in Buenos Aries during last year’s Rugby Championship.
The All Blacks rarely play poorly two matches in a row. With their in-form guns returning, the heavyweights should be far too strong for an underdone Argentina outfit.