New boys excite All Black forwards

Getty Images     05 Sep 2012     Getty Images

Used to playing against Australian and South African teams in Investec Super Rugby and the Tri Nations, the arrival of Argentina into the new four-nation Investec Rugby Championship is providing a new challenge for the world champions.

"It's a little bit different to the normal three teams," admitted Whitelock, who is likely to be up against powerful locks Patricio Albacete and Manuel Carizza on Saturday.

"They bring some real physicality and that's something a little bit new to the way the other three teams play with all the back play and expansive rugby.

"Everyone knows they've got a big forward pack and they love driving and they are physical so we've got to deal with that. The back have some flair, a little bit like the French."

New Zealand have never lost to Argentina but were made to work hard for their 33-10 win in the quarterfinal of the World Cup last year.

The All Blacks only led 12-7 at half-time in that match at Eden Park and it took tries from Kieran Read and Brad Thorn in the final 20 minutes to finally quell the Argentine resistance.

Messam expected the Pumas would battle hard again for the full 80 minutes, particularly after their two most recent outings against South Africa – the last a 16-16 draw in Mendoza which the home side probably should have won.

"They (Argentina) are an outstanding side," the loose forward said. "They showed against the Springboks last game they can match it for 80 minutes.

"We know what we're up against. We've just got to roll up our sleeves and get stuck into them."

One area Whitelock wants to improve is the line-out, which faltered in the 22-0 Bledisloe Cup win against Australia.

"There were a number of things (that went wrong)," the Crusaders second-rower said. "One we probably weren't quite ready to go and another one I think we missed a lift.

"They are just little things that we've got to make sure we get right.

"We've got to make sure that we sort that out pretty quick. Besides that we've got to keep improving right across the board with combinations and individual aspects as well."