New Zealand made two starting changes for its Rugby Championship match against Argentina in two days in La Plata, bringing in Aaron Cruden for injured fly-half Dan Carter and recalling Andrew Hore at hooker.
Cruden takes over the playmaking role after Carter suffered a tournament-ending shoulder injury in the All Blacks’ 29-15 win against South Africa on Sept. 14. Hore replaces Dane Coles.
“We are very happy with where Dane is at and with his performances of late,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in a statement. “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.”
With two rounds remaining, defending champion New Zealand has a four-point lead atop the standings over the Springboks, who host Australia in Cape Town this weekend.
Wallabies captain James Horwill will return from injury against the Springboks, while outside center Tevita Kirudrani was named for his first Test start. Nic White was retained as starting scrum-half ahead of Will Genia.
NEW ZEALAND: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Jeremy Thrush, Steven Luatua, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau.
AUSTRALIA: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Ben Mowen, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, James Horwill (captain), Rob Simmons, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, James Slipper.
Replacements: Saia Fainga’a, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Sitaleki Timani, Ben McCalman, Will Genia, Matt Toomua, Chris Feauai-Sautia.
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