Rugby World Cup: Mark Telea returns, Sam Whitelock starts for All Blacks' semi-final against Argentina

The All Blacks have welcomed back winger Mark Telea, who returns in the No.11 jersey for Saturday's (NZ time) Rugby World Cup semi-final against Argentina at Paris.

Telea, 26, was dropped for New Zealand's win over Ireland last week, after breaching team protocol, but after paying his dues with a week on the sideline, h returns to the left wing in place of Leicester Fainga'anuku, who drops out of the matchday 23 altogether.

Veteran Sam Whitelock also comes into the starting side, returning to the second row alongside Scott Barrett, with Brodie Retallick dropping onto the bench.

Sam Whitelock.
Sam Whitelock. Photo credit: Getty Images

Samisoni Taukei'aho also comes onto the bench in place of Dane Coles, who drops out of the 23, as the third change to the side that defeated Ireland.

In the front row, the first choice three of Ethan de Groot, Codie Taylor and Tyrel Lomax are retained, while Tamaiti Williams and Fletcher Newell will continue as the reserve props.

The loose forward trio of captain Sam Cane, Ardie Savea and Shannon Frizell are retained, while Dalton Papali'i will provide cover from the bench.

Aaron Smith and Richie Mo'unga remain together at halfback and first-five, while the midfield of Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane is also unchanged.

In the back three, Will Jordan and Beauden Barrett remain, with Telea for Fainga'anuku the only swap in the backline.

On the bench, Finlay Christie and Damian McKenzie both keep their places, after not featuring in the win over Ireland, while Anton Lienert-Brown is also retained.

The All Blacks have met Argentina at three previous World Cups, with three wins in 1987, 2011 and 2015 respectively.

All Blacks: 1-Ethan de Groot, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Sam Whitelock, 5-Scott Barrett, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Sam Cane (c), 8-Ardie Savea, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Mark Telea, 12-Jordie Barrett, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Will Jordan, 15-Beauden Barrett

Reserves: 16-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17-Tamaiti Williams, 18-Fletcher Newell, 19-Brodie Retallick, 20-Dalton Papali'i, 21-Finlay Christie, 22-Damian McKenzie, 23-Anton Lienert-Brown

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