Brodie Retallick will captain the All Blacks for the first time in his testing career when they face the Los Pumas on the Gold Coast this Sunday.
Retallick, who has been named one of two vice-captains for the rugby championship, is taking over the leadership role from substitute captain Ardie Savea, who dropped out of the fight at the Cbus Super Stadium.
Savea’s absence paves the way for Luke Jacobson’s third international start this season, with the number 8 competing in the loose strikers with seven Tests alongside Dalton Paplii and last week’s man of the game Akira Ioane.
Jacobson’s addition to the starting XI is one of six changes head coach Ian Foster has made to the team that beat the Wallabies 38:21 last Sunday at Optus Stadium in Perth.
Two of these changes come to the front row, with Karl Tu’inukuafe replacing George Bower as the loosehead prop to get his second start of the year in the black jersey, while Asafo Aumua will take his third Test while Samisoni Taukei’aho remains on the bench .
Bower is absent from the matchday roster at all as veteran prop master Joe Moody returns from a five month sideline at Super Rugby Aotearoa to start from the bench due to a foot injury.
He is assisted as two replacement props by Tyrel Lomax, who has not played for the All Blacks since their game against Fiji in Dunedin two months ago.
In defense, TJ Perenara swaps in as a half-back for Brad Weber, fell on the bench and will play alongside former long-term half-time partner Beauden Barrett for the first time since last year’s Bledisloe Cup defeat against the Wallabies in Brisbane.
After two outings from the bank for the All Blacks after his return to the national camp from his sabbatical in Japan in the first half of the year, Perenara will start for the All Blacks for the first time this week in 2021.
It’s also only the 18th time he has played a friendly match in his 71-man career, with five of those starts against Argentina.
David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown’s midfield remains unchanged, but the back three looks new as both Rieko Ioane and Will Jordan are eliminated from the starting XI.
Ioane, one of the standout in last week’s win over Australia, will start from jersey 23 instead, while Jordan, who made his 11th attempt scoring performance in his seventh Test against the Wallabies, will start.
Quade Cooper will make a dramatic return to rugby testing as Wallabies coach Dave Rennie rolls the dice to try to keep Australia’s lost rugby championship hopes alive. #Wallabies #AUSvRSA # Rugby championship https://t.co/nQtqSCYadA
– RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 9, 2021
In their places on the left and right wings are George Bridge – who celebrated his injury with a try in Perth – and Sevu Reece, while Jordie Barrett keeps the number 15 jersey after his red card was lifted by SANZAAR earlier this week.
Moody, Lomax, Weber and Ioane act as new faces in the reserve, where Damian McKenzie provides cover as playmaker and Ethan Blackadder and Tupou Vaa’i are hoping for a longer season against Argentina.
Foster said in a statement that given the travel conditions they operate in, rotating his team is a necessity to get his players up and running for the upcoming Springboks games.
“The key to choosing this week has been managing the workload of players across the squad, which I think all teams in the championship will do,” he said.
“We want to make sure we have a fresh, excited squad ready to play against a physical and passionate Argentine team.
“They had a tough time playing games in Europe and South Africa before coming to Australia. But we know from last year that when they spend a lot of time together they really unite, so we expect a hot game. “
He added that Retallick’s selection as captain indicates his size in the squad, which has grown immensely since his Test debut against Ireland in 2012.
“Brodie is a great leader on this team and we don’t take his leadership for granted,” said Foster.
“We think this is a great honor for him and he and his family should be very proud. He plays very well and is leading from the front. He returned to the black jersey this year and picked up where he left off.
“With Beaudy (Barrett) he also has an experienced partner at his side who brings calm and orientation to the team, and we see that in his style of play.”
All Blacks team plays against Los Pumas
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe
2. Asafo Aumua
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Brodie Retallick (c)
5. Scott Barrett
6. Akira Ioane
7. Dalton Papali
8. Luke Jacobson
9. TJ Perenara
10. Beauden Barrett
11. George Bridge
12. David Havili
13. Anton Lienert-Braun
14. Sevu Reece
15. Jordie Barrett
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho
17. Joe Moody
18. Tyrel Lomax
19. Tupou Vaa’i
20. Ethan Blackadder
21. Brad Weber
22. Damian McKenzie
23. Rieko Ioane
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