All Blacks stand-in captain Kieran Read will start against Argentina in spite of injury.
Read reportedly has muscle stiffness from a gym session and speculation among New Zealand media was he would not play. Liam Messam is expected to start at No 8 with Steve Luatua at blindside flank.
Richie McCaw is the only loose-forward cover available, and he has not recovered from a knee injury sustained in the first Rugby Championship match against the Pumas in Hamilton.
McCaw was taken to Argentina to assess his prospects of playing against the Springboks in Johannesburg.
Hooker Dane Coles will cover as flank on the bench should Read be ruled out. Chiefs flank Tanerau Latimer has also been flown to Buenos Aires as SOS cover and arrives hours before kick-off.
Aaron Cruden’s seniority has won him back his No 10 jersey for the Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks.
Cruden replaced the injured Dan Carter for the tournament opener against the All Blacks, but got injured in the match against Australia in Sydney.
Beauden Barrett replaced him in the match and also got injured. Tom Taylor then started for the All Blacks against Australia in Wellington and also got injured. Carter was back for Argentina and played 54 minutes before being replaced by Barrett.
Carter then only lasted 17 minutes against the Springboks before being injured. Barrett excelled when he replaced Carter.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Cruden had earned the right to leapfrog Barrett.
Andrew Hore plays possibly his last Test and match for the All Blacks.
Hore has indicated he will retire after the Rugby Championship.
Dane Coles, who started against the Springboks at hooker, is not in the match 23.
All Blacks – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Charles Piutau.