Christchurch - Try-scoring machine Waisake Naholo makes his All Blacks debut on
Friday against Argentinean with celebrated centurions Richie McCaw and
Dan Carter making their final appearance before their home crowd.
inclusion of Fijian flyer Naholo for the opening Rugby Championship
Test is one of six changes to the All Blacks squad that scrambled to a
25-16 win in their season opener against Samoa a week ago.
Another new All Black, hooker Codie Taylor, is set to make his first appearance off the bench.
Naholo, who blossomed with the Otago Highlanders this year, was the leading try-scorer in Super Rugby, touching down 13 times.
comes in for George Moala on the right wing as coach Steve Hansen calls
up four of the 17 squad members who featured in the Super final between
the Highlanders and Hurricanes.
Senior All Blacks
from that final, including Ben and Conrad Smith, are getting further
time to recover before being introduced to the All Blacks limited World
"We have a lot of respect for Argentina and what
they bring and understand that we will have to improve our game quite
considerably from our Samoan effort," Hansen said.
"With that in
mind, the selectors did not want to make too many changes. It's a fine
balancing act between getting game time for those who need it, giving
others the rest they may need, and giving ourselves an opportunity to
see players and combinations in the heat of the Test battle so we can
make good selections going forward."
Other changes to the All
Blacks see lock Brodie Retallick replace Sam Whitelock, TJ Perenara
comes in at scrumhalf with Andy Ellis dropping to the bench, Ma'a Nonu
starts at outside centre paired with Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam
is added to the reserves for Matt Todd.
For two of the all-time
great All Blacks, McCaw and Carter, it will be an emotional farewell
appearance before their home crowd in Christchurch, with Carter moving
to France after the World Cup later this year and McCaw set to retire.
guess there will be a few emotions," Carter said. "I love playing in
Christchurch. Every time I play there in the black jersey it just means
Hansen said the team would discuss how to cope
with the emotional outing for McCaw in his 139th Test and Carter
playing his 103rd.
"As a group we have to sit and around and ask
'how are we going to deal with this, boys?'. Are we going to embrace it
and make it work for us or is it going to be something to carry around
like a sack of coal on our backs that becomes a burden?"
The All Blacks and Argentina have played each other 20 times, with the All Blacks recording 19 wins and a draw.
The two sides will next meet in their opening match of the World Cup starting in England in September.
15-Israel Dagg, 14-Waisake Naholo, 13-Ma'a Nonu, 12-Sonny Bill Williams, 11-Charles Piutau, 10-Daniel Carter, 9-TJ Perenara, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Richie McCaw (captain), 6-Jerome Kaino, 5-Brodie Retallick, 4-Luke Romano, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Keven Mealamu, 1-Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16-Codie Taylor, 17-Wyatt Crockett, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Jeremy Thrush, 20-Liam Messam, 21-Andy Ellis, 22-Colin Slade, 23-Ryan Crotty