27 Sep 2014

McCaw to equal legendary Meads

4:31 pm on 27 September 2014

The Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris is set to make his Test debut having been named in the All Blacks reserves for this weekend's test against Argentina in in La Plata.

Harris comes into the reserves with Dane Coles returning to New Zealand to be with his partner for the birth of their baby, which Keven Mealamu comes into the starting lineup.

The forward pack also features the return from injury of lock Samuel Whitelock and blindside flanker Jerome Kaino.

As expected Beauden Barrett will start at first-five with the absence of Aaron Cruden for disciplinary reasons while Malakai Fekitoa gets his third test start coming in for the injured Ma'a Nonu

The Test will also see captain Richie McCaw equal All Blacks great Colin Meads' record of 133 games for the All Blacks.

Colin Meads.

Colin Meads breaks free during the 1971 Lions tour. Photo: Photosport / Peter Bush Collection

Meads played 55 Tests and 78 other matches for the All Blacks from 1957 - 1971.

McCaw has played 131 Tests and a sole non-Test appearance against the Barbarians in 2009 since making his debut in 2001.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw scores against the Springboks at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, in the Rugby Championship.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw scores against the Springboks at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, in the Rugby Championship. Photo: Photosport

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says after a good week of preparation, they're really looking forward to, and excited by, the challenge that playing Argentina in Argentina.

He says there is an expectation they will have a quality performance full of excitement, energy, physicality and accuracy, and they'll need that to beat the Argentineans, as they have been playing very well and have improved a lot since last year.

Hansen says with this being only the Pumas' second home game in the Championship, there will be huge expectation on them to win.

Hansen says he's looking forward to seeing Nathan Harris make his Test debut off the bench.

He says Harris has been developing very well, and it's well known they don't have a lot of depth in this position, but they feel that he's ready and capable of doing a very good job.

All Blacks:

Richie McCaw (c), Wyatt Crockett, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea, Malakai Fekitoa, Conrad Smith, Ben Smith, Israel Dagg

Reserves: Nathan Harris, Joe Moody, Ben Franks, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Cane, TJ Perenara, Colin Slade, Cory Jane