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Malakai Fekitoa preparing for Argentina clash

Malakai Fekitoa is set to take the All Blacks' reins at second-five, after it was revealed Ryan Crotty will miss their Test with Argentina.

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New Zealand coach Steve Hansen brought back trio Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam and Jerome Kaino from injury, however he has concerns in midfield with Ma'a Nonu (forearm) out for the remainder of 2014 and Ryan Crotty sidelined by a fractured cheekbone.

That paves the way for Fekitoa, who has four caps to his name, to feature in their Rugby Championship clash with the Pumas in La Plata on September 27.

Crotty is expected back for their tournament finale against the Springboks in Johannesburg on October 4.

Hansen said it was a bonus to have forwards Whitelock, Messam and Kaino available again, as the All Blacks - top of the table - loom large for a third straight title in the four-nations tournament.

"[The trio are] heading back a little bit earlier than we expected, but that's a bonus and we'll see what state they are in when we get to Argentina," he said.

"And whether they start or come off the bench, we'll work our way through that."

Fly-half Dan Carter will return through the ITM Cup with Canterbury, as the Test centurion's recovery from a fractured leg sustained in August continues.

"I think they've got a game Friday, he won't be involved in that one, but I think he may play in the next one or the one after that. It'll be up to the Canterbury guys," Hansen said of Carter's schedule.

All Blacks squad:

Forwards: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith

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