All Blacks v Argentina: Coach Ian Foster makes changes for Tri Nations clash with Pumas

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has made sweeping changes to his line-up to face Argentina in their Tri Nations clash in Sydney on Saturday.

While the Bledisloe Cup is safe for another year, New Zealand lost ground on their rivals with a shambolic 24-22 loss the Wallabies last week, playing two men short over the crucial closing stages, when Australia took control.

Foster has responded by largely returning to the tried-and-true side that dispatched the Aussies last month, retaining just six players from the starting XV last week.

Props Joe Moody and Tyrel Lomax are probably the most notable changes. Moody returns from concussion protocol, while Lomax replaces Ofa Tuungafasi, serving a three-game suspension for a high tackle in Bledisloe IV. 

Aaron Smith and Richie Mo'unga provide an established inside-back combination, Beauden Barrett moves back to fullback and brother Jordie slides across to wing. Exciting newcomer Caleb Clarke returns to the other wing.

Notable absences - apart from Tuungafasi - are halfback TJ Perenara and lock Scott Barrett, who seem to pay the price for their unconvincing performances last week. Barrett was yellow-carded for playing the ball on the ground and his absence ultimately turned the tide against his team.

"We were bitterly disappointed with the loss against Australia on the weekend, but we've taken a lot of lessons from that game," says Foster. "Specifically, we need to be smarter in seeing space and executing our plan around that.

"We also want to continue growing our work at the breakdown, both on attack and in defence, as I feel we are making great progress here."

The Pumas offer a chance to potentially right the ship somewhat. Argentina has been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19, with 1.2 million reported cases and more than 34,000 deaths.

Several members of the team and management have previously contracted the virus, and no domestic competition has been possible under coronavirus protocols.

All Blacks v Argentina: Coach Ian Foster makes changes for Tri Nations clash with Pumas

The Pumas have undergone quarantine in Australia and have played warm-up games since emerging from isolation.

"The Argentinians are well coached by Mario Ledesma and we have a lot of respect for them," says Foster. "You only need to go back to Buenos Aires last year, when we had a real arm wrestle with them, to know how tough they can be.

"They've been in Australia for a number of weeks, they are well-prepared and this is their first test of 2020, so it'll be a massive occasion for the and their country - we have to be ready."

All Blacks: 1-Joe Moody , 2-Dane Coles, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu, 5-Samuel Whitelock, 6-Shannon Frizell , 7-Sam Cane (c), 8-Ardie Savea, 9-Aaron Smith , 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Caleb Clarke , 12-Jack Goodhue, 13-Anton Lienert-Brown, 14-Jordie Barrett, 15-Beauden Barrett 

Reserves: 16- Codie Taylor, 17-Alex Hodgman, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Tupou Vaa'i , 20-Hoskins Sotutu, 21-Brad Weber, 22-Rieko Ioane, 23-Damian McKenzie

Argentina: 1-Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2-Julian Montoya, 3-Francisco Gomez Kodela, 4-Guido Petti, 5-Matias Alemanno, 6-Pablo Matera, 7-Marcos Kremer, 8-Rodrigo Bruni, 9-Tomas Cubelli, 10-Nicolas Sanchez, 11-Juan Imhoff, 12-Santiago Chocobares, 13-Matias Orlando, 14-Bautista Delguy, 15-Santiago Carreras

Reserves: 16-Facundo Bosch, 17-Mayco Vivas, 18-Santiago Medrano, 19-Santiago Grondona, 20-Tomas Lezana, 21-Gonzalo Bertranou, 22-Lucio Cinti, 23-Santiago Cordero 

Join us at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v Argentina Tri Nations test