In the absence of Ardie Savea, lock Brodie Retallick will captain New Zealand for the first time when the All Blacks face Argentina in the Rugby Championship on Australia’s Gold Coast on Sunday.
Savea received a head blow in last weekend’s 38-21 loss to the Wallabies in Perth and has been replaced at the back of the scrum by Luke Jacobson.
In lieu of Codie Taylor, who also suffered a head blow against the Wallabies, Asafo Aumua will make his first test start at hooker, while prop Joe Moody was named on the bench for his first runout of the year after recuperating from foot surgery.
Coach Ian Foster said both Savea and Taylor had passed concussion protocols and could have played, but he chose to be cautious because the rest of the squad was in fine shape following the first of five tests in five weeks.
“It’s been fantastic to have the luxury of being able to put them in the grandstand this week and have a highly lively squad in the next two or three weeks,” he told reporters on Friday from Perth.
Foster expressed his joy at awarding Retallick the captaincy and praised the speed with which the 2014 World Player of the Year returned to his best form after an 18-month hiatus in Japan.
“It’s a chance for Brodie to do something different,” the coach explained.
“He’s back, he’s sure of himself, and he’s smiling. He’s at ease in his role, and the guys want to be like him.”
TJ Perenara has been promoted from the bench to partner Beauden Barrett in the halves, while Sevu Reece and George Bridge have been promoted from the bench to start on the wings in place of Will Jordan and Rieko Ioane.
Jordie Barrett kept his spot in the back three after winning his appeal against the red card he received against Australia.
Last season, Argentina’s Pumas won their first-ever test match against New Zealand in the annual southern hemisphere test championship.
Team: 15-year-old Jordie Barrett, 14-year-old Sevu Reece, 13-year-old Anton Lienert-Brown David Havili, 12 George Bridge, No. 11 Beauden Barrett is number ten on the list. TJ Perenara, No. 9 Luke Jacobson, #8, Dalton Papalii, No. 7 6-Akira Ioane (Japanese: Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Scott Barrett, Scott Barrett, Scott Barrett, Scott Barrett, Scott Barrett, Scott Barrett, Scott Nepo Laulala (3rd), Asafo Aumua (2nd), and Karl Tu’inukuafe (1st).
16-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 16-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 16-Samisoni Taukei’aho Joe Moody, 17 Tyrel Lomax, 18 Vaa’i, 19-Tupou, Vaa’i, Vaa’i, Vaa’i, Va Ethan Blackadder, 20, Weber, Brad, 21. Damian McKenzie is 22 years old, and Rieko Ioane is 23 years old.