Beauden Barrett replaces Aaron Cruden
September 4, 2014
Beauden Barrett (centre) is yet to taste defeat with the All Blacks © Getty Images
Beauden Barrett will start as the All Blacks' five-eighth for the first time in the Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Napier on Saturday, the 23-year-old Hurricanes pivot one of three changes to the starting side that crushed Australia in Auckland two weeks ago.
Barrett, who has started on the bench in all his previous 21 Tests, except for two as fullback, makes his first run-on appearance at No.10 after incumbent Aaron Cruden failed to recover from a chest injury sustained in the 51-20 demolition of the Wallabies at Eden Park.
Colin Slade fills Barrett's spot among the replacements.
Aaron Cruden has a chest injury © Getty Images
"Aaron 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," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said of the selection decision. "We made a decision on Monday. Talking to the medical staff there was a risk if we played him that if he got caught in a compromised position in the tackle that he might do it again. He's trained with us all week and has been fine, but we just thought it wasn't worth taking the risk with him."
Hansen said that Barrett's selection was another step in his growth as a player - "it is a big opportunity and one that he's looking forward to" - while confirming that Cruden, who produced a standout performance in the demolition of Australia two weeks ago, would be available for Test against South Africa next weekend.
Smith shifts to the right wing in place of Cory Jane who misses the 23-man squad altogether.
"The selectors felt this was the right time to give Israel an opportunity," Hansen said while stressing Jane's demotion was not because of a lack of form. "We have been very happy with his performances."
Prop Charlie Faumuina was dropped from the bench, replaced by Joe Moody, because the selectors were unhappy with his form and fitness, while Jeremy Thrush was preferred to Steven Luatua because the selectors wanted a specialist second-row among the reserves.
Hansen said Argentina had the respect of the All Blacks after pushing the Springboks close in two Tests.
"[That] shows that they are capable of beating top opposition."
The All Blacks have played at McLean Park only once before, humbling Samoa 51-10 at the venue in 1996.
Hansen said the forecast wet weather was a minor factor in the selection of Dagg to play in front of his home crowd a week after he helped Hawke's Bay regain the Ranfurly Shield. "It's meant to be raining, he's got a big boot so that's also handy, but the big reason is his progress from where he was," Hansen said of Dagg.
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam; Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett. Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Joe Moody, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Cane, TJ Perenara, Colin Slade, Malakai Fekitoa.
Communication error please reload the page.
A believer in sporting miracles, Sir John Kirwan hasn't given up on his beleaguered Blues making the Super Rugby finals despite their none-from-six start to the season
Six months after being victim of a machete attack that left him fearing for his life, Kell Brook dished out a vicious attack of his own in his a first world title defence
Heather Watson's challenge at the Miami Open ended in the second round as Angelique Kerber won their rain-affected clash which spanned two days
Bulls five-eighth Handre Pollard became the first Super Rugby player past the 100-point mark this season as his team defeated the Crusaders 31-19 in Pretoria
Two disallowed tries ensured the Western Force ended their South African tour winless with the Sharks securing a 15-9 Super Rugby victory at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday
Miroslav Klose scored goals in the World Cup final tournaments of 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. Has anyone else scored World Cup goals 12 years apart?
Mudslinging and an agreement on something that will never happen, it's all in a day's work for a Formula One boss, as Maurice Hamilton explains...
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports
Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 7. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks
Kevin De Bruyne would consider a move back to Chelsea despite barely featuring in his time at Stamford Bridge, sources told ESPN
England manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck will miss Tuesday's international friendly against Italy with injury, while Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling will also be excused from the game in Turin
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard believes playing in the Premier League has made him a better player
Phil Jones appears to be facing a race against time to be fit for Manchester United's Champions League clash with Real Madrid after missing training on Monday
Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck has pulled out of the England squad because of a knee injury he suffered in Friday's 4-0 win over Lithuania
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Everton defender Phil Jagielka is to have surgery on a badly gashed ankle, manager David Moyes has confirmed
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
Who was the first Briton to win the British Grand Prix?