6 Sep 2014

Barrett gets first start

6:35 am on 6 September 2014

The Hurricanes first-five Beauden Barrett will make his first Test start in the All Blacks number 10 jersey while Israel Dagg has been given an opportunity to re-stake his claim at fullback.

Jaco Peyper sinbins Beauden Barrett during the 1st Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney.

Jaco Peyper sinbins Beauden Barrett during the 1st Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Barrett replaces incumbent Aaron Cruden, who was ruled out of Saturday's Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Napier due to injury.

The Crusaders pivot Colin Slade moves onto the bench.

Coach Steve Hansen says Cruden could have played, but the selectors weren't prepared to take the risk of him re-injuring himself and being out for a long period.

Dagg will start at fullback forcing Ben Smith on to the right wing and pushing the in-form Cory Jane out of the match day 23.

Israel Dagg

Israel Dagg Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Coach Steve Hansen says Jane's omission wasn't performance based, but says the coaches are keen to give Dagg an opportunity after he was usurped as the All Blacks number one fullback by Smith.

Second-five Ma'a Nonu returns to the starting XV after missing the second Bledisloe Cup test through injury.

There are also two changes to the bench, prop Joe Moody replaces Charlie Faumuina and lock Jeremy Thrush comes in for Steven Luatua.

Hansen says one of the changes was based on form and the other was tactical.

"We wanted a specialist lock for this encounter so Jeremy is the obvious choice with Dominic Bird and Patrick Tuipulotu still not ready to play."

"In the second change, the selectors have been unhappy with Faumuina's form."

Argentina rugby team

Argentina rugby team Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Looking forward to Saturday's match Hansen says, "There is a lot of respect for this Argentinean team."

"Their last two performances against South Africa have been right up there and shows that they are capable of beating top opposition."

Starting XV:

1. Wyatt Crockett (29)

2. Dane Coles (20)

3. Owen Franks (59)

4. Brodie Retallick (29)

5. Samuel Whitelock (56)

6. Liam Messam (33)

7. Richie McCaw (c) (129)

8. Kieran Read (64)

9. Aaron Smith (31)

10. Beauden Barrett (21)

11. Julian Savea (24)

12. Ma'a Nonu (92)

13. Conrad Smith (78)

14. Ben Smith (31)

15. Israel Dagg (39)


16. Keven Mealamu (115)

17. Ben Franks (33)

18. Joe Moody (1)

19. Jeremy Thrush (5)

20. Sam Cane (16)

21. TJ Perenara (5)

22. Colin Slade (11)

23. Malakai Fekitoa (4)

All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw will play his 130th Test match this weekend. Adding in his single non-Test for the All Blacks (against the Barbarians in 2009), McCaw is closing in on All Blacks great Colin Meads' record of 133 All Blacks appearances (55 Tests, 78 matches).

Meanwhile, McCaw's fellow All Blacks Test centurion, Keven Mealamu has been on the winning side 98 times and is inching closer to becoming just the second player in history behind McCaw to record 100 Test wins.

Conrad Smith and good mate Ma'a Nonu will play their 53rd Test together, one short of the record for a midfield partnership. Smith currently has 70 Test wins from 78 Tests, the highest success rate by any international player who has played more than 50 Tests.