Keeping Argentina’s pack quiet is the top priority for New Zealand this weekend, according to All Blacks duo Owen Franks and Scott Barrett.
New Zealand can wrap up the Rugby Championship title with a bonus-point win in Buenos Aires, but the Pumas are buoyant after victory over Australia last time out.
That 23-19 win on September 15 gave Argentina a second triumph of the competition for the first time, while the All Blacks fell to a shock defeat to South Africa in Wellington.
And Franks and Barrett know the threat posed by Argentina – particularly up front – is something they cannot underestimate as the look to get back to winning ways.
“As far as I’m concerned going into this week they’ve got the best scrum in the world, that’s the ability they have to be able to turn it on,” Franks told the All Blacks website.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 24, 2018
Barrett added: “They’ll be fired up and they are a skilful team with a good forward pack so it’s going to be a big challenge and we’ve got to prepare for that.
“Having a week off after the loss to South Africa meant there was time to stew over the outcome while there was also a bit of ‘a little bit of an extra knot in the gut’ to get back on track and get a win.
“At the same time you’ve got to put that behind you and focus on what’s ahead.”
Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has recalled Manuel Montero for the clash in place of fellow winger Ramiro Moyano, the latter still struggling with a rib injury he picked up against the Wallabies.
The uncapped Santiago Grondona and Matias Osadczuk have also been added to the 30-man squad in place of Lucas Paulos (flu) and Santiago Alvarez Fourcade – who is omitted after being sent off for his club side at the weekend.
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