Waisake Naholo set for All Blacks debut

New Zealand announced their team to face off against Argentina in the opening match of the Rugby Championship at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Friday, with Waisake Naholo set for his debut.

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New Zealand announced their team to face off against Argentina in the opening match of the Rugby Championship at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Friday, with Waisake Naholo set for his debut.

Coach Steve Hansen has named another experienced squad which will feature Tony Woodcock, who will make his 100th Test start.

Six changes have been made to the matchday 23 that beat Samoa, including 24-year-old Naholo replacing George Moala.

Brodie Retallick enters the squad as lock to replace Samuel Whitelock while Jeremy Thrush comes in as lock reserve.

TJ Perenara will play at half-back with Andy Ellis moved to the bench.

Assuming the centre role will be Ma"a Nonu who is set to play his 95th Test as Ryan Crotty moves to the bench.

Taylor replaces Hikawera Elliot as reserve hooker while loose forward Liam Messam replaces Matt Todd.

Coach Hansen said he was looking forward to the upcoming clash and says it will be an important indicator as to the areas of the All Blacks' game needing improvement.

It"s important that we get away to a really good start in the Investec Rugby Championship as we will only be playing each other once this year and we only have this one home game, he said.

We will need to get points early if we are going to give ourselves a chance of winning the Championship.

We know the Argentinians will be big and fast and bring physicality to the contest.

We have a lot of respect for Argentina and what they bring and understand that we will have to improve our game quite considerably from our Samoan effort.

The All Blacks and Argentina have played each other 20 times with the former winning 19 of those outings, and the other ending in a draw.

All Blacks: Israel Dagg, Waisake Naholo, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Charles Piutau, Daniel Carter, TJ Perenara, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, Jerome Kaino, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.

Reserves: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Nepo Laulala, Jeremy Thrush, Liam Messam, Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty.

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