All Blacks make multiple changes for second Argentina test

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Flyhalf Beauden Barrett will start on the bench for unbeaten New Zealand in Saturday’s second Rugby Championship test against Argentina, handing the No. 10 jersey to regular fullback Damian McKenzie.

Barrett has had a slight calf muscle twinge since last weekend’s 39-0 win over the Pumas and head coach Ian Foster has chosen to spare his only specialist flyhalf ahead of an anticipated clash with the world champion Springboks.

Captain Ardie Savea returns after missing last week’s match to lead a much-changed All Blacks lineup into the test at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. There are 11 changes to the starting lineup that took a bonus point from a five tries to nil win in last weekend’s match.

Foster has decided to rest as many of his frontline players as possible to ensure they are fresh for clashes with South Africa over successive weekends which will decide the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks play the Wallabies in the second match in Saturday’s doubleheader, having beaten No. 1-ranked South Africa last weekend..

The All Blacks will field an entirely new starting forward pack on Saturday, including Savea on the openside flank. Veteran loosehead prop Joe Moody will start a test for the first time this season after recovering from a foot injury and coming off the bench last weekend. He combines with hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and prop Tyrel Lomax in a new front row.

Tupou Vaa’i and Patrick Tuipuloto will combine in the second row while Savea, who missed last week’s match with a head injury, joins Ethan Blackadder and Hoskins Sotutu in the second row.

T.J. Perenara is retained at scrumhalf, partnering McKenzie in the halves. Quinn Tupaea and Rieko Ioane will combine in midfield while Jordie Barrett remains at fullback, rejoined in the back three by wingers Will Jordan and George Bridge.

Scotland-born scrumhalf Finlay Christie has been named on the bench alongside Barrett and hooker Codie Taylor, who also returns from a minor head injury.

“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,” Foster said Thursday when naming the team. “Five tests in a row demanded that.

“But the good thing is that we have a group that has been focusing 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."

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New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, George Bridge, Damian McKenzie, T.J. Perenara; Hoskins Sotutu, Ardie Savea (captain), Ethan Blackadder, Tupou Vaa’i, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tyrel Lomax, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Joe Moody. Reserves: Codie Taylor, George Bower, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Braydon Ennor.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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