Rugby Championship

Five All Black debutants to play Argentina on Sunday

Crusaders winger Sevu Reece has been named on the right wing, while Chiefs prop Atu Moli, Chiefs loose forward Luke Jacobson, Highlanders first five Josh Ioane and Crusaders back Braydon Ennor are all in the reserves.

Ngani Laumape and Anton Leinert-Brown form the midfield with Jordie Barrett on the left wing.

With most of the Crusaders missing the trip to Argentina, the front row is made up of Ofa Tuungafasi, Dane Coles and Angus Ta'avao.

Flanker Sam Cane will captain the side for the third time.

 

Jaguares dominate Pumas team to face All Blacks

Thirteen members of the starting XV for the Test in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning started for the Jaguares in the final of the Super Rugby two weeks earlier. The reserves bench is comprised entirely of Jaguares.

Ledesma is banking on the same chemistry at international level after the Jaguares exceeded all expectations by making a maiden final appearance, losing to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The only changes to a team captained by world-class flanker Pablo Matera are the introduction of two experienced European-based stars.

A lack of Crusaders gives others a chance to shine for All Blacks

The Crusaders beat Argentine side Jaguares to claim a 10th Super Rugby title earlier this month and the national players in their squad were allowed to miss the long trip to Buenos Aires because they already face a punishing season that includes the World Cup in September.

"Those guys had a busy schedule and I think the rest will be good for them but we have got absolute confidence that the guys who are here can step up and do a job," Coles said ahead of Saturday's game.

New All Black thought he'd missed selection

The Chiefs flanker is one of four uncapped players in the 39-strong group for the first two matches against Argentina and South Africa.

"I didn't really see this coming at all," Jacobson said.

"I thought I'd missed out on the selection because someone told me that you're meant to get a call before.

"I was like 'oh well, sweet as I'm a bit gutted but I'm still young so I've still got plenty of time' sort of thing, so getting named was pretty cool."

All Blacks not basking in Rugby Championship success

New Zealand's 35-17 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires at the weekend ensured another southern hemisphere championship for the All Blacks but that will not lead to any slackening of against the Springboks in Pretoria says Perenara.

"We're so focused on the next job and winning games and being the best footy players that we can be that we don't often have time to reflect on what we've achieved," Perenara, who celebrated his 50th cap in Velez Sarsfield win, told New Zealand media.

All Blacks on verge of title

The All Blacks are averaging 6.8 tries and 46.3 points per game compared to 6.3 and 43.7 in 2016 and will wrap up a fifth Rugby Championship title if victorious against bottom-placed Argentina in Buenos Aires this weekend, irrespective of the result of the other match between South Africa and Australia in Bloemfontein.

Records forgotten when All Blacks-Springboks hit the field

A hardened lock very much in the mold of the generations of players who have occupied the Springboks second row, Etzebeth sees Saturday's Rugby Championship test at North Harbour Stadium as just 46 blokes going hammer and tongs on a patch of grass.

"Once you jog onto the field, any records, they disappear out of your head," the 25-year-old said on Friday about the fact South Africa had not won in New Zealand since 2009.

"You don't want to break records, you just want to win the test match. They want to win it, we want to win it. Records don't count for very much."

Springbok revival put to the test

The Springboks endured an awful 2016 as they suffered their first loss to Ireland at home and were thumped 41-13 and 57-15 by the All Blacks in their two Rugby Championship clashes.

They also lost all three of their end-of-season tests in Europe as they ended the year with just four wins from 12 matches and slumped as low as seventh in the world rankings by this March.

Stalemate between Wallabies and Springboks

Centre Jesse Kriel and hooker Malcolm Marx crossed for the Springboks, who dominated the breakdown and set piece but were unable to convert late pressure into a score that would have given them a sixth successive win.

Livewire centre Kurtley Beale and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau scored tries for the Wallabies, who showed plenty of attacking endeavour but remain winless in the competition after back-to-back losses to the All Blacks.

Boks aiming for momentum against Pumas

Springbok rugby was in crisis at the turn of the year after the side lost eight of their 12 tests in 2016, including historic defeats to Argentina, Italy and Ireland.

The South Africans are now hoping to build on a 3-0 clean-sweep of their June series against a depleted France.

Coach Allister Coetzee narrowly survived the axe, and promised the worst was over and that the side would be more competitive this season.