All Blacks prepare for physical confrontation in Mendoza
Fresh from leading his Crusaders to a seventh DHL Super Rugby triumph, lock Scott Barrett is preparing for an assured physical confrontation in Sunday's Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Mendoza.
Barrett said Argentina had been physical in their contests with the All Blacks over the past three years, both in New Zealand and Australia, in which they had recorded their first win over the All Blacks and then their first win on New Zealand soil.
He said they still have to achieve their first win against the All Blacks at home and would be keen to do that in Mendoza.
The Pumas had benefited from having the Jaguares in Super Rugby, and the fact their squad was together for their campaigns flowed into the Test side. While they were not involved since Covid-19, they would still bring the benefits they gained from Super Rugby and their recent play in the French Top 14, British rugby and Japan into the mix.
"We're anticipating a very tough Test match - their physicality, and their disruptive tendencies at the breakdown. We're training for what is going to come."
Barrett was expecting plenty from his one-season Crusaders teammate Pablo Matera.
"He'll play his game, [he's] a good ball carrier and a tough defender so it's not just him, it's the pack. They've got some workers and some physical men up front, so we're anticipating a good challenge there."
The All Blacks were preparing for whatever the Argentinians might throw at them, especially in their traditional approach of trying to put them off their game.
"We'll deal with that in our own 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."
Being a Rugby World Cup year with a truncated Rugby Championship, Barrett said it was essential to work on combinations, build team confidence, and work out how they wanted to play.
"That started last week in camp. It's a pretty quick transition from Super Rugby into the All Blacks camp and the work started straight away, and that's [the World Cup] a huge goal, but we're not looking past Saturday."
MATCH DETAILS: All Blacks v Argentina, Sunday July 9, 7.10am NZT, Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza, Argentina. Live on Sky Sport NZ.
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