5 Sep 2017

Hansen hints at changes

6:06 am on 5 September 2017

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has hinted that there will be changes to his side for this weekend's Rugby Championship game against Argentina in New Plymouth.

All Black lock Nepo Laulala.

All Black lock Nepo Laulala. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Prop Owen Franks won't play again this year as he undergoes achilles surgery, while winger Waisake Naholo has been ruled out of contention after suffering a head knock while playing for Taranaki last weekend.

Flanker Sam Cane, prop Wyatt Crocket and inside centre Ryan Crotty have all been cleared of concussions but there is still some uncertainty over Cane, prompting Hansen to promote uncapped Blues flanker Blake Gibson into the squad as injury cover.

Tighthead prop Nepo Laulala could well start again after being promoted in the Australia Test in Dunedin.

Lock Sam Whitelock may have earnt himself a week off after his long season with the Crusaders, allowing either Luke Romano or Scott Barrett to get a start.

Israel Dagg is expected to return to the starting lineup with Ben Smith now on his sabbatical, while TJ Perenara and Anton Lienart-Brown are other options to start.

Hansen suggested it was time for change.

"If you go out there and you've got an All Blacks jersey on, then you're a good player."

"Its well documented that we've got a big season, we're not even half way through it yet and we've got a lot of travelling to do so at some point we're going to have to be smart about who we select.

The All Blacks team to play Argentina is named on Thursday morning.

The All Blacks have two wins from two so far, while Argentina lost both games against South Africa.