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New Zealand still makes changes


New Zealand will still ring changes despite Argentina win

Argentina’s shock Rugby Championship win over South Africa will not affect New Zealand’s plans to shuffle the pack for their clash with the Pumas.

The All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup with a thumping 40-12 win over Australia on Saturday, star fly-half Beauden Barrett crossing for four tries.

That was followed by a 32-19 win for Argentina over the Springboks, suggesting they will be no pushovers against the world champions.

But head coach Steve Hansen insisted he will stick with his plan of resting star names like Barrett for their September 8 game in Nelson.

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“You’re always flexible in your thinking, but we’ve got a plan in place, and we’ve just got to trust everybody to do their jobs,” Hansen said.

“You can’t get sidetracked by results, and you’ve got to understand what you’re trying to do.

“They’re going to be tough. They’ve had a good win, and it again highlights how difficult it is to back up a big performance against the same opposition.

“We know they’re a good side, [coach Mario Ledesma] has got them going well, and playing probably a little more fluently than they were.

“They’re using the Super Rugby style of game and we’d expect them to bring that into the Test arena.”

Asked if New Zealand could give Barrett a rest and turn to Richie Mo’unga, who starred in the Crusaders’ successful Super Rugby campaign, Hansen replied: “We might. I can’t tell the opposition who’s playing just yet.

“We’re very fortunate we’ve got a strong squad and what will make it stronger is giving people game time and trusting them. Through trusting them they will grow and all of a sudden people start talking about how much depth we’ve got.

“We’ve got people we have to develop and grow, and Argentina is not a Bledisloe Cup game, so it gives us opportunities to muck around. Not to the point where we’re disrespectful to Argentina, but more to the point in growing the talent we have.”

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New Zealand will still ring changes despite Argentina win