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Magic Damian McKenzie in line for All Black debut in Argentina

The Chiefs back is among the replacements for Saturday night’s clash in Buenos Aires.

NEW ZEALAND COACH Steve Hansen has shaken up his All Blacks side for the Rugby Championship Test against Argentina on Saturday as he looks to blood young talent.

With the title already wrapped up, Hansen named an experimental side featuring four changes to the starting 15 and another five on the bench, including the brilliant Damian McKenzie.

Source: Observatoire Béarnais/YouTube

The 21-year-old Chief is comfortable at both out-half and fullback, but looks set to make his international debut in the back three as Highlanders 10 Lima Sopoaga is named as cover for Beauden Barrett.

World Cup-winning coach Hansen said he wanted to give his young players experience and increase the squad’s depth.

“At some point we’ve got to play these people and trust them. We think they’re ready,” he said.

Damian McKenzie is tackled by Michael Fatialofa McKenzie tackled by Michael Fatialofa in the Super Rugby semi-final. Source: Photosport/Grant Down/INPHO

Liam Squire gets his first Test start at blindside flanker after earning three caps from the bench, replacing the injured Jerome Kaino.

Lock Patrick Tuipulotu comes on for Sam Whitelock, who goes onto the bench, while centre Malakai Fekitoa has been dropped from the match-day squad entirely in favour of Anton Lienert-Brown.

TJ Perenara’s strong form helping the Hurricanes to the Super Rugby title has been rewarded with a start at halfback in place of Aaron Smith.

New Zealand (v Argentina, Saturday, 11pm Irish time)

15. Ben Smith
14. Israel Dagg
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
12. Ryan Crotty
11. Julian Savea
10. Beauden Barrett
9. TJ Perenara

1. Joe Moody
2. Dane Coles
3. Owen Franks
4. Patrick Tuipulotu
5. Brodie Retallick
6. Liam Squire
7. Ardie Savea
8. Kieran Read (capt)

Replacements:

16. Codie Taylor
17. Wyatt Crockett
28. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
19. Sam Whitelock
20. Elliot Dixon
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
22. Lima Sopoaga
23. Damian McKenzie

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