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The All Blacks star set to shine again against Los Pumas

By Sam Smith

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The All Blacks head into their second clash against Los Pumas looking to do the double over Argentina in successive weeks, and one player could prove to be crucial in achieving that goal.

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After being handed his first start of the year in last week’s 39-0 thumping of the Argentines on the Gold Coast, halfback TJ Perenara has been reinstated in the No 9 jersey for this week’s re-match at Suncorp Stadium.

Speaking on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod this week, Crusaders and Maori All Blacks halfback Bryn Hall was full of praise for Perenara as he pinpointed the 29-year-old as one of the standouts in New Zealand’s most recent victory.

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Highlighting Perenara’s high-tempo contribution, strong defensive presence and quick distribution, Hall said the 72-test international caught the eye at Cbus Super Stadium and could replicate his efforts in Brisbane on Saturday.

“A guy I thought played tremendously well was TJ Perenara,” Hall told the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.

“He had 99 passes, and we talked about the difference between him and Brad [Weber] around quick ball. I thought that’s the quickest I’ve seen TJ get to the ball.”

Hall added the influence of the All Blacks coaching staff, as well as that of All Blacks trainer Nic Gill, seems to have positively impacted Perenara’s game, which proved to be beneficial for the Kiwis last week.

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“He just seems hungry and ready and hasn’t missed a beat. I thought he was outstanding, and probably that first 20-30 minutes, he really got the ball out and was trying to get the ball going to tempo.

“The All Blacks wanted to, early on, switch back play, being able to use the switch play, and attack that, whether that be a kick.

“They probably would have thought maybe 50/22 opportunities as well that they maybe saw early on, but I thought TJ then opened up his game around all his array of skills around the heart defence, interplays with Sevu [Reece] and Brodie Retallick around that heart defence, and the tempo as well, the quick taps for the try where Beaudy gives that ball to Jacobson.

“I thought he was outstanding on the weekend. We talk around competitiveness around that position, but I thought TJ was outstanding. He was just a notable mention throughout a lot of All Blacks that played well in that test match.”

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Ex-All Blacks and Blues hooker James Parsons agreed with Hall as he noted that the work of the All Blacks forward pack helped Perenara shine against Argentina.

Nevertheless, the former two-test international said that Perenara had imposed himself well in the battle for the starting halfback role in the All Blacks in the absence of the incumbent Aaron Smith.

“I think he’ll thank his numbers one to eight because if you get good, fast, accurate cleans and simple targets, it means that ball’s going to be fast when you’ve got access to it,” Parsons told the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.

“Because they provided that platform, it allowed him to really shine and show his triple-threat game, which was great to see, and I agree, I thought he was massive and made a huge statement, as did Brad Weber when he came on as well.

“I thought he made great impact as well, so there’s certainly a lot of competition in that No 9 jersey at the moment.”

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The All Blacks star set to shine again against Los Pumas

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