Four-Nations - Carter set for Argentina showdown

Fly-half Daniel Carter looks like being fit for New Zealand's potential Rugby Championship title clincher against Argentina on Saturday.


The All Blacks face the Pumas in La Plata knowing a victory will land them the crown regardless of what happens in South Africa's clash with Australia in Pretoria.

"He's training like he's ready to play, so as long as he continues to progress he'll be playing," Hansen told a news conference at the team's hotel in the capital on Tuesday.

"He came through today's session pretty good. We pulled him out after about 45 minutes and he wasn't overly happy about that, he wanted to do a bit more so that was a good sign."

Carter missed New Zealand's last two matches, home victories over Argentina and South Africa, with a calf injury. Carter also missed New Zealand's triumphant World Cup campaign last year after tearing his groin in a training session.

The world champions know Argentina are very tough opponents on home soil and are also learning fast with each game in their first major annual tournament.

Hansen expects the Pumas pack to try to dominate as they did in their previous home match, a 16-16 draw with South Africa, and also in their defeats away to New Zealand and Australia.

He is wary too of Argentina's growing confidence as evidenced by their scoring two tries against the Wallabies and running up a 13-point lead before going down 23-19.

"They started to use the ball a bit against Australia and looked really dangerous so they might get some confidence out of that and maybe play some more rugby," Hansen said.

"I think they've just got to play for 80 minutes," Hansen said, analysing Argentina's chances of a first victory in their remaining matches against New Zealand and Australia on October6 in Rosario.

"They've given themselves plenty of opportunities to win games (but) perhaps, with the intensity of these games, they're not used to playing the opposition they're playing and that last 20 minutes is a lack of concentration and all of a sudden a lead or an opportunity goes missing.

"But I think with more consistent quality opposition they're getting in this championship they're going to improve in that area and they're going to very hard to beat," he said.

"Their defence is very good, I don't think they've had a try scored against them in the first half in the last three Test matches."

Hansen thinks Carter's playmaking abilities can help tip the balance earlier at La Plata than in Wellington where the Pumas were only 9-5 down until the final quarter of an hour before the All Blacks won 21-5.

"We need to score early and put them under pressure, otherwise they're going to stay in the game and it'll be a real battle," Hansen said.

Argentina coach Santiago Phelan has named the following team to face New Zealand in their Rugby Championship match at the Ciudad de La Plata stadium on Saturday:

15-Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14-Gonzalo Camacho, 13-Marcelo Bosch, 12-Santiago Fernandez, 11-Horacio Agulla, 10-Juan Martin Hernandez, 9-Martin Landajo; 8-Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), 7-Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6-Julio Farias Cabello, 5-Patricio Albacete, 4-Manuel Carizza, 3-Juan Figallo, 2-Eusebio Guinazu, 1-Rodrigo Roncero

Replacements: 16-Agustin Creevy, 17-Marcos Ayerza, 18-Tomas Vallejos, 19-Tomas Leonardi, 20-Nicolas Vergallo, 21-Martin Rodriguez, 22-Juan Imhoff

View comments (0)