Rugby Championship

ABs give Barrett No 10 jersey

2014-09-03 19:38
Beauden Barrett (Getty Images)

Napier - Beauden Barrett will get his first start at his preferred position of flyhalf for New Zealand on Saturday after selectors decided not to risk Aaron Cruden suffering further injury against Argentina.

The 23-year-old Barrett has made just two previous starts, both at fullback, in his 21-Test career with coach Steve Hansen preferring to use him as an impact player off the bench.

The Hurricanes pivot was the form New Zealand flyhalf during the Super Rugby competition this year but unable to dislodge Cruden from the starting position for the All Blacks.

Cruden then played his best game for the All Blacks in the 51-20 thrashing of Australia at Eden Park in the second round of the Rugby Championship before going off with a chest injury.

Hansen said the injury was one of the reasons why Barrett had been given his first opportunity to start a Test against the Pumas at McLean Park.

"Aaron could have played but the selectors weren't prepared to take the risk of him re-injuring himself and being out for a long period," Hansen said in a statement.

Hansen made just two other changes to the side from the Eden Park demolition of the Wallabies with Israel Dagg returning to the side at fullback to play a Test on his home ground.

Ben Smith will shift to right wing to accommodate Dagg's inclusion, with Cory Jane dropping out of the matchday squad altogether.

"The selectors felt this was the right time to give Israel an opportunity," Hansen added.

"We also want to make it clear that his selection is not a reflection on Cory Jane's play, as we have been very happy with his performances."

Ma'a Nonu has also returned at inside centre after recovering from shoulder bruising he suffered in the 12-12 draw with the Wallabies in the first round of the tournament and will rekindle his partnership with Conrad Smith.

Hansen made no changes to his pack, mindful the Pumas will present a sterner challenge in the forwards than the Wallabies.

"There is a lot of respect for this Argentinian team," he added.

"Their last two performances against South Africa have been right up there and shows that they are capable of beating top opposition."

Rookie prop Joe Moody has replaced Charlie Faumuina on the bench, while Jeremy Thrush will provide specialist lock cover after loose forward Steven Luatua filled that role as a stop-gap against Australia.

Colin Slade has replaced Barrett on the bench.


New Zealand:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Joe Moody, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Malaki Fekitoa




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