Brodie Retallick will captain the All Blacks for the first time when they take on Argentina in a Rugby Championship Test on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Retallick will captain the team in Ardie Savea’s absence, becoming the 71st All Blacks Test captain.
Retallick has started 71 of his 86 Tests to date and will be playing his 14th Test against Argentina.
In the starting front row, hooker Asafo Aumua will make his first Test start, alongside Karl Tu’inukuafe, who comes in for George Bower, and Nepo Laulala.
Prop Joe Moody will make his eagerly-awaited return to the national side via the bench after undergoing foot surgery this year. Tyrel Lomax is the other reserve prop, coming into the 23 for his third Test of the year. Samisoni Taukei’aho is reserve hooker.
In the second row, Scott Barrett will once again start alongside Retallick, with Tupou Vaa’i as the reserve lock.
In the loose forwards, Luke Jacobson comes in at No 8 for his third Test start of the year, alongside Akira Ioane at blindside flanker and opensider Dalton Papalii. Ethan Blackadder, provides loose forward cover from the bench.
In the backs, TJ Perenara starts at scrumhalf with Brad Weber reserve, and Beauden Barrett is at 10 in his 95th Test. David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown are again the midfield pairing,
In an overhauled back three, George Bridge starts on the left wing while Sevu Reece comes in on the right and Jordie Barrett sat fullback. Will Jordan drops out of the match-day squad and Damian McKenzie and Rieko Ioane join Weber in covering the backline from the bench.
Head Coach Ian Foster said: “We’ve had a great build up in Perth and we’re looking forward to getting to Queensland to finish our preparation. The key to selection this week has been about managing the player workload across the whole squad, which I think all teams will be doing in the Championship. We want to ensure we have a fresh, excited squad ready to play a physical and passionate Argentinian team.
“They’ve had a tough time on the road with matches in Europe and South Africa before coming to Australia. But we know from last year that when they spend a lot of time together it really unifies them, so we’re expecting a torrid game.”
Foster said he was delighted to name Retallick as the captain for this Test.
“Brodie is a great leader in this team and we don’t take his leadership for granted. We think this is a great honour for him, and he and his family can be hugely proud. He’s playing really well and leads from the front. He has come back into the black jersey this year and just picked up where he left off.
“He also has an experienced partner in Beaudy (Barrett) alongside him who is bringing a calmness to the team and a sense of direction and we’re seeing that in the way he plays.”
Gold Coast here we come 🔥 pic.twitter.com/BW1MByE6VN
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 10, 2021
New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick (c), 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 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.
Photo: Getty Images