McKenzie starting at 10 as All Blacks ring changes for Puma

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All Blacks coach Ian Foster has made a raft of changes to his side for their second Test against Argentina, including Damian McKenzie starting at first-five.

Damian McKenzie

Foster has made 11 changes to the starting XV that took down Los Pumas 39-0 for Saturday's rematch in Brisbane, including an entirely new forward pack.

In the starting front row, Joe Moody is in the number one jersey after his return to the All Blacks off the bench last week, with hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho making his first Test start. Tyrel Lomax will start in the number three jersey.

There is also a welcome return to the All Blacks for prop Ofa Tuungafasi, who will return to international rugby via the bench following his recovery from knee surgery. Prop George Bower will also bolster the front row from the reserves bench with Codie Taylor providing the cover at hooker.

In the second row, Patrick Tuipulotu is back from a groin strain and will start alongside Tupou Vaa’i. Scott Barrett will provide impact from the bench while last week's captain Brodie Retallick has been rested.

In the loose forwards, Ethan Blackadder and Hoskins Sotutu will make their second Test starts at blindside and number eight respectively, while Ardie Savea returns as captain in the number seven jersey. Luke Jacobson is the loose forward cover.

In the backs, TJ Perenara is at halfback with Finlay Christie at reserve halfback, giving Brad Weber a week off.

McKenzie has been named outside Perenara to start his second Test in the playmaker 10 jersey while Quinn Tupaea gets his second Test start at 12 inside Rieko Ioane.

McKenzie will have big shoes to fill after a dazzling performance from Beauden Barrett last week. Barrett has made the most of his chance to start at first-five with rival Richie Mo'unga not joining the team in Australia. Barrett will still have an impact from the bench, though.

In the outsides, George Bridge is again on the left wing, Will Jordan is the right wing and Jordie Barrett is again at fullback. Braydon Ennor makes a welcome return to the national side via the bench as cover alongside Barrett.

Foster said the wholesale changes are about player safety and maintenance.

“With five Tests in a row and a six-day turnaround between these two Argentinian Tests, we were always going to make some selection changes. Five Tests in a row demanded that," Foster said. 

"But the good thing is that we have a group that has been focussing on the same opposition for the last two weeks, so our preparation time hasn’t been compromised.

“We are expecting a huge response from Argentina and we have to make sure we are prepared for that because we know what a wounded beast is like. 

"The key is not so much how they respond, but how we respond. If we go into this Test match thinking it’s just going to happen for us like last week without earning the right to have the scoreboard in our favour, then we are in trouble.”

Saturday's match kicks off at 10pm.

All Blacks [caps]

1. Joe Moody (51)
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (5)
3. Tyrel Lomax (9)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (38)
5. Tupou Vaa’i (6)
6. Ethan Blackadder (4)
7. Ardie Savea (53) – captain
8. Hoskins Sotutu (6)
9. TJ Perenara (72)
10. Damian McKenzie (34)
11. George Bridge (14)
12. Quinn Tupaea (2)
13. Rieko Ioane (41)
14. Will Jordan (7)
15. Jordie Barrett (29)


16. Codie Taylor (61)
17. George Bower (6)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (39)
19. Scott Barrett (45)
20. Luke Jacobson (8)
21. Finlay Christie (2)
22. Beauden Barrett (95)
23. Braydon Ennor (1)