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Peranara get 50th Test against Argentina

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All Blacks scrum-half TJ Perenara will play in his 50th Test when they face Argentina in Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash in Buenos Aires.

Perenara comes into the run-on side as a replacement for Aaron Smith as part of several changes to the world champions’ XV.

The matchday 23 sees a change in the front-row, with Ofa Tuungafasi moving to the starting tighthead position, in for Owen Franks, and new All Black Angus Ta’avao set to make his All Blacks Test debut from the bench.

Shannon Frizell is at blindside flanker and Luke Whitelock at number eight. The squad will be captained by 103-Test lock Samuel Whitelock.

In the backs, Sonny Bill Williams makes his eagerly-awaited return to the All Blacks at 12, with Ryan Crotty moving to outside centre. Waisake Naholo is back in the number 14 jersey and Ben Smith moves back to full-back.

Richie Mo’unga and Anton Lienert-Brown provide back cover from the bench.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said the team had recovered well this week in Buenos Aires after travelling from New Zealand and was preparing for what would be the first of two tough away games for the All Blacks.

“We’ve picked what we believe is the best team for this particular Test match,” he said.

“Argentina are a very good side who have shown they can win both away and at home. They’re full of confidence and self-belief which will make them a very dangerous beast.

“From a selection point of view, we’ve always seen these next two Test matches as a great opportunity to replicate the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup, where we’ll have to beat quality teams back-to-back if we are to keep advancing in the Tournament. One of the keys to achieving this will be a consistency of selection, and that’s why we haven’t made too many changes this week.

“We’ve taken some key learnings from the loss to South Africa, which we look forward to implementing on Saturday. Our week’s preparation starts off the field with our individual and collective clarity and builds during the week through our trainings.

“So far this week this has been very pleasing and everyone’s been working really hard. We’re excited by Saturday’s challenge and can’t wait for kick off.”

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Samuel Whitelock (c), 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

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