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‘We’ll deal with it’: All Blacks ready for some Argy 'biff'

By Finn Morton
A scuffle breaks out involving Dane Coles, Ardie Savea and Dalton Papali'i of the New Zealand All Blacks during The Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina Pumas at FMG Stadium Waikato on September 03, 2022 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The All Blacks and Los Pumas have almost come to blows during some fiery Test matches over the years, and the passionate rugby rivals will etch another chapter into the history books this weekend.

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Veteran Sam Whitelock was involved in a scuffle during the famous Tri Nations clash in Sydney back a few years ago – with Argentina recording their first-ever win over New Zealand.

Hooker Codie Taylor engaged in a similar scrap two weeks later in Newcastle. More recently, playmaker Richie Mo’unga was in the middle of a minor scruffle with Thomas Gallo last September.

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These two teams have a history of passion, performance and pressure. When the All Blacks take on Argentina, both sides are desperate to make their mark.

But it’s a fine line. Discipline is a skill, and it’s cost the All Blacks before.

Flanker Shannon Frizell was yellow carded during last year’s Rugby Championship clash in Christchurch, and Los Pumas went on to win that Test 18-25.

History was made. It was Argentina’s first-ever win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil.

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Poor discipline also cost the men in black against Ireland in July 2022, with Leicester Fainga’anuku and Ofa Tu’ungafasi receiving yellow cards. Replacement Angus Ta’avao also saw red for a head clash.

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Managing discipline and staying in the moment is an art form in Test rugby, and the All Blacks simply need to get it right when they open their Rugby Championship campaign in Mendoza this weekend.

Forward Scott Barrett said the All Blacks understand the “consequences” of getting involved in some extras – but also mentioned that the team is willing to “front up” on the field if necessary.

“We have to front up if they’re going to bring it like that,” Barrett told reporters after the All Blacks’ first on-field training session in Mendoza on Tuesday.

“We’ll deal with it in our way, whatever that might look like.

“We’re certainly aware of some consequences if they drag us into a bit of biff if that’s what they’re after.”

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With this year’s Rugby World Cup about two months away, the All Blacks will only play three Test matches in a shortened Rugby Championship.

In total, the New Zealanders will play five matches – including additional Tests against the Wallabies and Springboks – before opening their World Cup account against hosts France in September.

The All Blacks don’t have long.

They need to get it right against their southern hemisphere rivals.

“It’s about building confidence as a team and working on combinations and I guess working out how you want to play as a team,” Barrett added.

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“That started last week in camp, and it was a pretty quick transition from Super Rugby into All Blacks camp and the work started straight away.

“That’s a huge goal but we’re not looking too far past Saturday.”

The All Blacks kick off their 2023 season against Los Pumas at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza at 7.10 am NZST on Sunday morning.

Dating back to their famous victory in Sydney a few years ago, Argentina has won two of the last six Test matches between the fierce rivals.

“Our previous games against them, even in Australia, the last few years they’ve certainly shown up with plenty of passion and that starts up front with their physicality and their disruptive tendencies around the breakdown.

“We’re training and preparing for what’s going to come.

“Especially here in Mendoza, we’re anticipating a very tough Test match.

“Good week of training and we’re getting excited for it too.”

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Comments

4 Comments
r
rod 377 days ago

I don’t think he will start but be on bench, expect a quite a few new players to start they have SA next week

c
carlos 378 days ago

Because I’m absolutely sure that Dane Coles is a saint. Is he playing?

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Turlough 4 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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