New Zealand braced for tough scrum battle against Argentina this weekend
Last Updated: 05/09/14 1:45pm
Scrum coach Mike Cron has warned New Zealand’s young players to brace themselves for a tough forward battle against Argentina in Napier.
The All Blacks face Argentina for the first time this season in Saturday’s Rugby Championships Test and will be expected to build on their 51-20 win over Australia.
But narrow defeats to South Africa have underlined the threat posed by the Pumas and Cron expects a stern challenge against a side with a reputation for bruising contests in the scrum.
"These guys hammered South Africa at scrums and it was a bit like them going back in time to what suits them," he said. "The scrum is their DNA, they have an eight-man push with great cohesion, timing and attitude.
"It will give us more of an idea about some of our players like Wyatt Crockett, Dane Coles...and Ben Franks who have not had a lot of international experience.
“They are new to the sort of scrum the Pumas bring and this will be a sort of litmus test for the guys who play."
Argentina lock Mariano Galarza believes his side are facing "the toughest match of the six" and has urged his team-mates to cut out the errors which proved costly against the Springboks.
"Where you lose focus for two minutes these teams score points so we have to try and not give away the ball and score points whenever we can," he said.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 1 Wyatt Crockett, 2 Dane Coles, 3 Owen Franks, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Liam Messam, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 8 Kieran Read.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Joe Moody, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.
Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 1 Marcos Ayerza, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 3 Ramiro Herrera, 4 Mariano Galarza, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 8 Leonardo Senatore.
Replacements: 16 Matas Cortese, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matas Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Baez, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Imhoff.