Milner-Skudder named for ABs test match

By Regan Paranihi

Nehe Milner-Skudder will be making his return to the All Blacks Test side for this weekend’s clash against Argentina. Joining him will be Chief’s halfback, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, who will make his Test debut off the bench.

Milner-Skudder, who was injured in the All Blacks Investec Rugby Championship test match in Cape Town almost a year ago, will play at right wing.

There will be changes to the backline as Richie Mo’unga is set to make his first test start. 

TJ Perenara will start at halfback and Ben Smith will move back to fullback.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen says, "While we've made a number of changes from our last outing, this is not a reflection on Argentina but rather a desire by us to grow the experience and depth of our squad.  Secondary to that, we also know that if we don't use the whole squad across a long season, we'll run out of steam later in the year.”

Hansen says despite the changes that have been made, the standard for the All Blacks remains the same.

“We're very aware of the Argentinian challenge.  We know that they're hungry for test success against the All Blacks and after their recent win over South Africa they'll be coming here confident that they can achieve their desired goal.”

He also says the team needs to step it up a notch from previous test matches.

“This means that we'll need to step up with our own response and be better than we were in our recent Test in Auckland.  We'll need to concentrate on setting a strong foundation throughout the 80 minutes, particularly in our set pieces and our strike plays, along with our defence. 

"Throughout the week we've concentrated on getting our personal and team processes right and delivering on these will also be key come Saturday."

The All Blacks are looking forward to playing their first ever game in Nelson and are delighted with the support and kind hospitality the city has shown them.

“It's been quite special and on behalf of the entire All Blacks squad and management, we'd like to thank the people of Nelson for their hospitality and generous support," says Hansen.

The match day 23 are as follows (with test caps in brackets):

1. Karl Tu'inukuafe (5)

2. Codie Taylor (34)

3. Owen Franks (100)

4. Brodie Retallick (70)

5. Scott Barrett (21)

6. Shannon Frizell (1)

7. Ardie Savea (27)

8. Kieran Read - captain (111)

9. TJ Perenara (47)

10. Richie Mo'unga (1)

11. Waisake Naholo (21)

12. Ngani Laumape (7)

13. Jack Goodhue (3)

14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (11)

15. Ben Smith (70)

16. Nathan Harris (15)

17. Tim Perry (1)

18. Ofa Tuungafasi (18)

19. Samuel Whitelock (101)

20. Luke Whitelock (5)

21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (0)

22. Damian McKenzie (17)

23. Anton Lienert-Brown (26)