In a move to blood young talent, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has shaken up the All Blacks for the Rugby Championship test against Argentina.
With the title already wrapped up, Hansen named an experimental side featuring four changes to the starting 15 and five more on the bench.
The World Cup-winning coach said he wanted to give his young players experience and increase the squad’s depth in tomorrow’s test.
“At some point we have to play these guys and trust them. We think they’re ready,” Hansen said yesterday.
Liam Squire gets his first test start at blindside flanker, after earning three caps from the bench, replacing the injured Jerome Kaino.
Patrick Tuipulotu comes on at lock for Sam Whitelock, who goes onto the bench, while centre Malakai Fekitoa has been dropped from the squad entirely in favour of Anton Lienert-Brown.
TJ Perenara’s strong form in helping the Wellington Hurricanes to the Super Rugby title, has been rewarded with a start at halfback, in place of Aaron Smith.
The most notable inclusion on the bench is dynamic Waikato Chiefs flyhalf Damian McKenzie.
The feisty flyhalf is set to make his international debut if Beauden Barrett is given a breather late in the match.
New Zealand (15-1):
Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Kieran Read (capt), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Joe Moody.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Sam Whitelock, Elliot Dixon, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Lima Sopoaga, Damian McKenzie