Home Rugby Damian McKenzie earns begin as All Blacks identify crew for Pumas conflict

Damian McKenzie earns begin as All Blacks identify crew for Pumas conflict

Damian McKenzie earns begin as All Blacks identify crew for Pumas conflict


Playmaker Damian McKenzie may have first crack on the All Blacks’ No. 10 jersey when the New Zealanders tackle Argentina of their Rugby Championship opener on Sunday morning (NZST).

McKenzie was seen coaching at first-five in direction of the tip of the All Blacks’ first on-field coaching session in Mendoza earlier this week, whereas Beauden Barrett lined up at fullback.

However as introduced within the early hours of Friday in New Zealand, McKenzie has formally been named to start out at flyhalf for the 21st time in Check rugby.

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As for two-time World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden Barrett, the talented utility back will provide another playmaking option against Los Pumas.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has also selected one debutant in the matchday squad, with Chiefs winger Emoni Narawa set to enter the fray of Test rugby on the right wing.

Test match regulars Ethan de Groot, Dane Coles and Tyrel Lomax make up a formidable starting front row, while Scott Barrett will partner two-Test All Black Josh Lord in a new-look second row.

Lord was seen running patterns alongside the likes of McKenzie and Barrett earlier this week at Marista Rugby Club, and veteran Brodie Retallick described his Chiefs teammate as a “great player.”

Highlanders utility Shannon Frizell will start in the No. 6 jumper, and partner captain Sam Cane and Ardie Savea in the back row.

Aaron Smith has beaten Finlay Christie and Cam Roigard to the starting side this week, with the legendary halfback set to link up with McKenzie in the halves.

McKenzie will look to provide quality ball to an exciting backline which includes the midfield duo of Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane.

Joining Emoni Narawa in the outside backs is left winger Caleb Clarke and fullback Barrett.

The All Blacks certainly pack a punch on the bench as well, with the likes of Dalton Papali’i and Richie Mo’unga looking to make an impact late in the contest.

The match between the All Blacks and Los Pumas in Mendoza is set to get underway at 7.10 am NZST on Sunday morning,

All Blacks team to take on Argentina

  1. Ethan de Groot
  2. Dane Coles
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. Scott Barrett
  5. Josh Lord
  6. Shannon Frizell
  7. Sam Cane (c)
  8. Ardie Savea
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Damian McKenzie
  11. Caleb Clarke
  12. Jordie Barrett
  13. Rieko Ioane
  14. Emoni Narawa
  15. Beauden Barrett


  1. Codie Taylor
  2. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
  3. Nepo Laulala
  4. Tupou Vaa’i
  5. Dalton Papali’i
  6. Finlay Christie
  7. Richie Mo’unga
  8. Braydon Ennor



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