One debutant named in All Blacks to play opener against Argentina
All Blacks selectors have unveiled their first team of the year, naming one debutant to face Argentina in the opening Test of the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship in Mendoza.
Emoni Narawa is set to become All Black 1208 after being selected to run out on the right wing at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, less than a week before his 24th birthday.
Two other All Blacks will appear in the side for the first time since the 2021 season. Damian McKenzie is in line to add to his 40 Tests after being given the nod at first five-eighths while lock Josh Lord will add to his two caps, pairing with Scott Barrett in the second row.
In his 113th Test, Beauden Barrett has been named at fullback and is set to surpass Dan Carter as the second most-capped All Black back in history, behind Aaron Smith (114) who takes his place in the No.9 jersey.
“We have taken the need to build combinations in a vital year and balanced it with the need to manage the squad after Super Rugby,” said All Blacks coach Ian Foster.
"This is obviously a massive year and we are really confident in the way that we've been building. We have had a short build-up but an effective one."
Saturday will mark the first ever All Blacks Test in Mendoza, with all 42,500 tickets sold two months prior to kick-off. The city at the foot of the Andes has hosted the All Blacks for two mid-week tour games in 1976 and 1991. This year’s visit was initially scheduled for 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
The last time the two teams met in Argentina, the All Blacks won 20-16 in Buenos Aires.
“We have loved our time here in Mendoza for what will be a tremendous challenge,” added Foster.
"We’ve enjoyed seeing how excited everyone is for this weekend’s game and can’t wait to get stuck into our work.”
All Blacks match-day 23 (Test caps in brackets) * debutant
1. Ethan de Groot (13)
2. Dane Coles (84)
3. Tyrel Lomax (23)
4. Scott Barrett (58)
5. Josh Lord (2)
6. Shannon Frizell (22)
7. Sam Cane (captain – 86)
8. Ardie Savea (70)
9. Aaron Smith (114)
10. Damian McKenzie (40)
11. Caleb Clarke (15)
12. Jordie Barrett (48)
13. Rieko Ioane (59)
14. Emoni Narawa *
15. Beauden Barrett (112)
16. Codie Taylor (76)
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (50)
18. Nepo Laulala (45)
19. Tupou Vaa’i (18)
20. Dalton Papali’i (22)
21. Finlay Christie (14)
22. Richie Mo’unga (44)
23. Braydon Ennor (6)