2 Sep 2014

All Blacks admit Pumas win inevitable

12:41 pm on 2 September 2014

The All Blacks centre Conrad Smith concedes it's only a matter of time before Argentina beat the All Blacks.

The All Blacks resume their Four Nations campaign this weekend when they play the Pumas in Napier.

In 18 Tests the closest Argentina have come is a 21-21 draw in Buenos Aires in 1985.

Smith says they're motivated by the fact they don't want to be the first All Black side to lose to the Pumas.

Conrad Smith

Conrad Smith Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"I don't like to admit it and I don't want it to be on may (but) if they're going to get a couple of cracks at us each year it's only going to be a matter of time before they knock us off."

Smith says he has always respected Argentina as an opponent but that respect has changed over time.

"I respect them more now in terms of the the typeof rugby they play. In the past I more repsected them for the passion they brought to the game but now I think they match that passion with some classy skill and execution particularly through the backline."

Meanwhile the Wallabies prop James Slipper says it's unfair to single out five-eighth Kurtley Beale for criticism following the side's recent 51-20 loss to the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Calls are growing for Beale to be replaced at first five by Bernard Foley for this weekend's Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Perth.

Beale struggled as the key playmaker role during the Eden Park thrashing, but Slipper says Beale didn't get a lot of help from his team-mates.

"He's a class player... a part of that has got to do with the forward pack and the players around him. We didn't stick up for him and give him really good ball."

"We take full responsibility for what happened that night. It's in our hands to change that this weekend."

With the Wallabies needing to find a replacement for retired winger Pat McCabe, Beale could be switched to second five.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie is also pondering a number of other changes in a bid to get the side back on track.

Halfback Nic White and second five Matt Toomua could be dropped in favour of Nick Phipps and Tevita Kuridrani, while James Hanson will replace injured hooker Nathan Charles for his first Test start.

The former Wallabies skipper James Horwill is pushing hard for a recall.

The Wallabies sit last in the Rugby Championship standings, but they'll fancy their chances of beating a South African outfit which failed to impress in recent wins over Argentina.