McKenzie starts at fly half for All Blacks against Pumas
The fleet-footed playmaker has worn the All Blacks’ number 10 jersey only once in the 49-14 thrashing of France in Dunedin in 2018, though he came off the bench to replace fly half Beauden Barrett during the 39-0 shutout of the Pumas on Sunday.
While McKenzie will lead a backline featuring only four of the players who started last week, the pack has been completely changed with Ardie Savea returning to captain the side from open side flanker after being rested last week.
He is joined in the back row by No 8 Hoskins Sotutu and Ethan Blackadder as the All Blacks look to maintain their 100 per cent record in the competition.
Lock Patrick Tuipulotu will partner Tupou Vaa’i in the second row after recovering from a groin strain while Brodie Retallick, who captained the side on Sunday, has been rested.
Centre David Havili, loose forwards Akira Ioane and Dalton Papalii, and props Nepo Laulala and Karl Tuinukuafe will also have the week off.
Loosehead prop Joe Moody, who was eased back from injury from the bench on Sunday, will start in the front row with hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and tighthead Tyrel Lomax.
Meanwhile, Santiago Carreras will play his first Test at fly half as Argentina Coach Mario Ledesma wrestles with a lengthy injury list.
Nicolas Sanchez started at fly half in the 39-0 loss to the All Blacks on the Gold Coast last week but limped off with an ankle injury with winger Emiliano Boffelli taking over as makeshift playmaker.
Carreras, who has played mainly in the back three for his country, missed the first All Blacks Test with a lower leg injury but returns in the number 10 shirt with Domingo Miotti backing up from the bench.
Sanchez was one of five players injured in last week’s match and only Facundo Gigena, who had a calf problem, will back up this week at Brisbane’s Lang Park.
No 8 Rodrigo Bruni is struggling with a shoulder injury and has been replaced at the back of the scrum by former skipper Pablo Matera.
New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 George Bridge, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 TJ Perenara; 1 Joe Moody, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 7 Ardie Savea (c), 8 Hoskins Sotutu.
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou; 1 Facundo Gigena, 2 Julian Montoya, 3 Santiago Medrano, 4 Matias Alemanno, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Pablo Matera. (Agencies)