Foster wields heavy All Black axe
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: All Blacks coach Ian Foster has wielded the axe ahead of Saturday’s Tri Nations Test against Argentina.
The changes are in response to New Zealand’s shock loss to the Wallabies last weekend.
Foster purged 10 players from the starting XV that was beaten 22-24 by Australia, showing a ruthless streak after his first defeat in charge of the All Blacks.
“We were bitterly disappointed with the loss against Australia on the weekend, but we’ve taken a lot of lessons from that game,” he said.
“Specifically, we need to be smarter in seeing space and executing our plan around that.”
Flank Akira Ioane, a debutant against Australia, was among seven starters from last week who did not even make the match-day squad for Argentina.
He will join fellow rejects Sevu Reece, Ngani Laumape, Thomas Perenara, Scott Barrett and Karl Tu’inukuafe watching Saturday’s match against the Pumas from the stands.
Prop Ofa Tuungafasi was always going to miss the match after being banned for a high tackle and Foster selected a new-look front row of Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles and Joe Moody, who returns after a head knock.
Foster said not all the changes were form related, saying he was taking the opportunity to rest some players while others, including lock Patrick Tuipulotu, were coming back from injury.
But he left no doubt the loss was a major factor in his selection decisions and that fringe players had not seized their opportunity against Australia.
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“When you get a chance, this All Black jersey demands a performance,” he said.
“And when we don’t perform at the level we expect then we’re going to go away and work twice as hard.”
Beauden Barrett shifts to fullback from his preferred position at flyhalf to make way for the returning Richie Mo’unga, as Foster reverts to his first-choice backline combination.
Rookie sensation Caleb Clarke takes a slot on the left wing, with Jordie Barrett on the other sideline.
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Rieko Ioane, 23 Damian McKenzie.
Date: Saturday, November 14
Venue: Western Sydney Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 17.10 ADST (19.10 NZ time; 03.10 Argentina time; 06.10 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Nic Berry, Paul Williams
TMO: Ben O’Keefe