In Summary
  • Now in their sixth year of the Rugby Championship, much more was expected of the South Americans than just three wins from 29 matches.
  • They have never beaten New Zealand.

NEW PLYMOUTH

Argentina will put their rugby credibility on the line in New Plymouth this weekend against an All Blacks experimenting with their line-up.

Now in their sixth year of the Rugby Championship, much more was expected of the South Americans than just three wins from 29 matches. They have never beaten New Zealand.

Two years ago, things looked good for Los Pumas when they made the World Cup semi-finals and with the bulk of their squad joining the Jaguares to play Super Rugby the following year.

But in two games against the All Blacks last year they appeared to have taken a step backwards - conceding a total of 93 points.

Both sides have made seven changes for Saturday's clash. While the All Blacks are looking to build depth, Argentina are in search of a glimmer of confidence.

Coach Daniel Hourcade tried to put a positive spin on the disappointing history against New Zealand when he named his side on Thursday.

"For us to play against the All Blacks is always a huge motivation and you end up with positive things, because facing the best makes you grow," he said.

But Hourcade could be forgiven for wondering what to do next. Easing up on Argentina's traditional bruising forward game in favour of a more open, running style has not paid the desired dividends.

When Los Pumas do play tight, captain Agustin Creevy is able to muster a powerful unit that has caused the All Blacks problems in the past, but he will be without one of his finest lieutenants this weekend with 78-Test veteran Juan Manuel Leguizamon dropped.

Enforcer Tomas Lavanini was also not required despite being cleared of further punishment after being sent off against South Africa a fortnight ago when he collected two yellow cards.

Page 1 of 2