The All Blacks banished their losing streak with a brutal win over South Africa in the last round and Argentina overcame Australia. The win for New Zealand saw their head coach Ian Foster being backed until the end of the World Cup next year and Argentina’s victory gave new boss Michael Cheika more plaudits.
Cheika has spoken about the pressure Foster will be under but says the coach will be enjoying it. “He’ll be loving it, even when it’s tough mate, it doesn’t matter,” he explained. “That comes with the territory of footy. It gets tough.
“It’s a brilliant position to have, it’s a great honour if you are in it, and you love it, you get to go out and be involved in footy every day.
“It doesn’t matter how tough it gets, it’s part of the game, just like when you were a player.”
Here’s all you need to know about Saturday’s match.
All Blacks v Argentina: Kickoff time, how to watch in NZ, live streaming, teams, odds - all you need to know
All you need to know ahead of the first test between the All Blacks and the Pumas at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday, 27 August (kickoff at 7.45pm):
The Rugby Championship test between New Zealand and Argentina at Christchurch on Saturday is supposed to be a "new dawn" for the All Blacks.
Fans know this because New Zealand Rugby told them so. When it recently reappointed head coach Ian Foster through the 2023 World Cup, NZR was effusive in its praise. It said Foster was the only man who could lead the All Blacks into this new era.
Setting aside the fact that the All Blacks under Foster have won only two of their last seven tests, NZR's chairman and chief executive Mark Robinson portrayed him as a visionary who would take New Zealand back to the peak of world rugby. The All Blacks currently languish at fifth place, their lowest-ever world ranking.
Robinson wasn't clear on what might happen if the All Blacks lose to Argentina on Saturday, other than that the new dawn would be momentarily postponed.
A loss to Argentina is something All Blacks supporters normally would not consider likely. The All Blacks hadn't lost to the Pumas in 29 tests until Foster became the first coach to experience a defeat in 2020.
The Pumas squad that the All Blacks face in the first test in Christchurch in six years may be one of the most formidable they have ever faced. The team has been re-energised by former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and goes into the match on the back of a 48-17 win over Australia.
The All Blacks will attempt to back up the win over the World Cup champion Springboks in South Africa two weeks ago which made it possible for New Zealand Rugby to throw its backing behind Foster. The win in Johannesburg was a vital one for a beleaguered coach and team but will count for nothing if the All Blacks don't win again against the Pumas.
Foster realises the one win over South Africa is not enough to take the "weight off" the All Blacks or relieve public concern about their form — an informal survey on a New Zealand media website showed more than 80 per cent of respondents opposed Foster's reappointment.
"There's plenty of pressure around playing for the All Blacks. It's learning how to deal with that," Foster said. "It comes in different forms and shapes. Sometimes it's geared at people, sometimes it's geared at performance. You have to make sure you keep embracing that.
The match will take place on Saturday 27 August at 8.45am BST.
How can I watch?
Fans in the UK can watch the game on Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Arena. If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription.
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New Zealand make no changes to the starting XV who defeated South Africa in the last round.
Argentina, meanwhile, make three changes to their starting line-up. Matias Orlando and Lucio Cinti come into the backs and Joel Sclavi starts in the front row.
New Zealand: J Barrett; Jordan, Ioane, Havili, Clarke; Mo’unga, Smith; De Groot, Taukei’aho, Lomax, Whitelock, S Barrett, Frizell, Cane, Savea.