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All Black locks get a rest even with title on the line in Buenos Aires

While most countries would be sending out their best, most experienced side, New Zealand are building depth for the 2019 World Cup.

Beauden and his brother Scott Barrett celebrate a try against Australia.
Beauden and his brother Scott Barrett celebrate a try against Australia.
Image: Photosport/Joe Allison/INPHO

THE ALL BLACKS have made nine changes to their side as Argentina stand between them and the Rugby Championship title.

The nine include uncapped Crusaders utility back David Havili, 22, who is among the replacements.

The other changes include Luke Romano and Scott Barrett in the second row and Patrick Tuipulotu on the bench, while senior locks Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock are rested. In addition to the rested locks, Steve Hansen had initially left out-half Beauden Barrett out of the touring squad, but he stepped in as a replacement for Lima Sopoaga whose partner gave birth to a baby girl.

The imposing Vaea Fifita, who turned the game with a brilliant try when the All Blacks beat Argentina 39-22 in New Zealand three weeks ago, returns to the blindside flank with Matt Todd on the openside for his first Test this year.

The backline changes hand a start for centre Anton Lienert-Brown and right wing Waisake Naholo, while Ngani Laumape provides cover from the bench.

Assistant coach Ian Foster said Saturday’s Test in Buenos Aires was “a massive opportunity” to expand the All Blacks’ options ahead of the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

“It is a chance to build real competition and depth in the squad, which is vital for where we want to get to over the next couple of years,” said Foster.

New Zealand go into the match eight points clear of South Africa who they play in next week’s final round.

The All Blacks have faced Argentina (who will face Ireland in Dublin in November) 25 times with 24 wins and one draw. They have won the southern hemisphere title in four of the last five years. Earlier this month in New Plymouth, Argentina led 22-15 early in the second half before the All Blacks, sparked by Fifita’s try, scored 24 unanswered points.

New Zealand (v Argentina, kick-off 23.40 Irish time, Sky Sports)

15. Damian McKenzie
14. Waisake Naholo
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
12. Sonny Bill Williams
11. Rieko Ioane
10. Beauden Barrett
9. Aaron Smith

1. Kane Hames
2. Dane Coles
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Luke Romano
5. Scott Barrett
6. Vaea Fifita
7. Matt Todd
8. Kieran Read (Capt.)

Replacements:
16. Codie Taylor
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
19. Patrick Tuipulotu
20. Ardie Savea
21. TJ Perenara
22. Ngani Laumape
23. David Havili

Argentina’s matchday 23 will be listed here when it is released.

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AFP

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