Ultimate sign of respect! Foster names full strength side to face Pumas in Sydney Tri Nations Test

Thu, Nov 12, 2020, 1:05 AM
Christy Doran
by Christy Doran
Ian Foster has rushed back his preferred halves pairing Aaron Smith and Richie Mo'unga following their shock loss to the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images
Ian Foster has rushed back his preferred halves pairing Aaron Smith and Richie Mo'unga following their shock loss to the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images

Far from impressed following their shock loss to the Wallabies last Saturday, All Blacks coach Ian Foster has responded by naming what appears to be his strongest side to face Argentina Pumas in first of two Tri Nations matches against the South Americans on Saturday at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney (5:10pm AEDT).

After four tough Bledisloe matches against the Wallabies, many expected Foster to blood some youth in his squad in what is their penultimate international of the year.

Instead, Foster has wielded the axe by dropping regular starter Scott Barrett and usual replacement halfback TJ Perenara, who was handed a rare start last weekend in the absence of Aaron Smith.

Foster has rushed back Smith and fly-half Richie Mo'unga, who was rested for the Bledisloe finale in Brisbane, which sees Beauden Barrett return to fullback and brother Jordie shifted to the right-wing.

“We were bitterly disappointed with the loss against Australia on the weekend, but we’ve taken a lot of lessons from that game," Foster said in a statement.

"Specifically, we need to be smarter in seeing space and executing our plan around that. We also want to continue growing our work at the breakdown, both on attack and in defence, as I feel we are making great progress here."


In other changes, Jack Goodhue returns at inside centre, forcing Anton Lienert-Brown back to outside centre, while Caleb Clarke also earns a recall to the left-wing, which sees Rieko Ioane drop back to the bench.

Up front and Foster has a made a few changes too, with a brand new front-row with Joe Moody returning from injury, Dane Coles starting ahead of Codie Taylor and Tyrel Lomax coming in for the suspended Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

In the second-row Patrick Tuipulotu returns following his sickness and Shannon Frizell comes back in at blindside flanker for Akira Ioane, who has also been dropped.


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Foster said the All Blacks were expecting Argentina to provide a stern test despite it being their first international of the year.

“We’re now into the next phase of the Tournament playing against Argentina and it will be exciting playing a new opposition," Foster said.

“The Argentinians are well coached by Mario Ledesma and we have a lot of respect for them You only need to go back to Buenos Aires last year, when we had a real arm wrestle with them, to know how tough they can be (the All Blacks narrowly won 20 -16).

“They’ve been in Australia for a number of weeks, they are well-prepared and this is their first Test of 2020 so it’ll be a massive occasion for them and their country so we have to be ready.”

ALL BLACKS (1-15): Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Tyrel Lomax, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane (c), Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo'unga, Caleb Clarke, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett, Beauden Barrett

RESERVES: Codie Taylor, Alex Hdgman, Nepo Laulala, Tupou Vaa'i, Hoskins Sotutu, Brad Weber, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie