Aaron Cruden will return from injury to start at flyhalf in one of two changes to New Zealand’s lineup for tomorrow’s Rugby Championships Test against Argentina in Mar del Plata.
Cruden suffered a knee injury in New Zealand’s first Championships match against Australia on Aug. 17, but now returns as a replacement for Daniel Carter, who suffered a shoulder injury in the All Blacks’ most-recent match against South Africa.
Injuries have forced New Zealand to use four starting flyhalves as many matches in the four-nation Championships — Cruden, Carter, Beauden Barrett and debutant Tom Taylor — but have not disturbed their unbeaten start to the southern hemisphere tournament.
Andrew Hore will return at hooker after being rested in the previous game and replaced by Dane Coles.
“We are very happy with where Dane is at and with his performances of late, but like a lot of the young players, we are also mindful of managing their game time as part of their development so have brought in Andrew to start this week,” Hansen said.
The return of the 79-Test veteran Hore means the New Zealand starting lineup has a combined total of 809 Tests and 11 of the players took part in the equivalent match in Argentina last year, which the All Blacks won 54-15.
Hansen said New Zealand had resisted the temptation to rest many players, given the match next week against South Africa in Johannesburg could be the title decider.
“Within reason, we’re trying to pick the best team most times we play,” he said. “Cruden has earned the right to start, just as Dan Carter has when he comes back. Beauden will have to be patient and wait his time off the bench.”
Argentina made six changes to its lineup for the match.
Lock Patricio Albacete, playing in France for Toulouse, returns for his 54th Test, while Eusebio Guinzau comes in at hooker, forcing Agustin Creevy to the bench.
Marcelo Bosch and Santiago Fernandez replace Felipe Contepomi and Gonzalo Tiesi in a double change in midfield, while Martin Landajo and Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino also return to the starting side.
New Zealand and Argentina have met in 18 Tests and the Pumas are still seeking their first win.
AUSTRALIA V S AFRICA
Reuters, CAPE TOWN
Adam Ashley-Cooper has been moved to the wing as a replacement for the disgraced James O’Connor in Australia’s side to face South Africa at Newlands tomorrow.
The move is one of three changes in the Australia backline announced by coach Ewen McKenzie, who has made six changes in total.
O’Connor has been replaced in the starting side by center Tevita Kuridrani, who will take over the No. 13 jersey, with Ashley-Cooper switching to the wing.
ACT Brumbies flyer Joe Tomane has also been included on the other wing in the place of Nick Cummins.
Australia captain James Horwill returns from injury to take over from Kane Douglas at lock, the only other change to the starting lineup from the side that beat Argentina 14-13 last time out.
“James Horwill coming back is logical as captain. We have got the best guys that are available now and they are improving as a combination,” McKenzie said.
New Zealand-born wing Chris Feauai-Sautia, who plays for Queensland Reds, has been added the bench and will make his international debut if the 19-year-old gets onto the pitch.
Waratahs loose-head prop Benn Robinson has also been added to the bench to replace Scott Sio.