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McKenzie reflects on heady 12 months

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Lynn McConnell     30 Sep 2017     Getty Images

Argentina was the first country he played and in the 12 months since he had learnt a lot, especially in terms of his preparation on and off the field in making his six Test appearances, he said.
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"This is another great opportunity for myself this weekend and obviously playing Argentina a couple of weekends ago in New Plymouth was a challenge for us so it's exciting for us to be over here and another good opportunity against Argentina this weekend," he said.

"I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable but there's always challenges, things to be working on and obviously I've had a lot of help with Ben Smith and Izzy [Israel Dagg] giving me a lot of guidance around what I should be doing and how I should be preparing," he said.

Covering Beauden Barrett at first five-eighths was exciting and another challenge, he said.

It would be about being clear what his job was whether at fullback or first five-eighths but the first priority was to do the job he was selected for initially.

McKenzie, who is making his third trip to Argentina, said he always enjoyed travelling to Buenos Aires and with all the fan engagement at grounds it was a good place to play rugby.

Wing Waisake Naholo, who also made his Test debut against Argentina, but in Christchurch in 2015, was appearing in his 14th Test after some injury concerns and he was excited to be taking the field again.

"I'm really looking forward to getting out on the field in the black jersey again with the boys," he said.

While not as nervous before games as earlier in his career he was intent on keeping on learning and being clear in what he needed to do in the game.

He and the outside backs had been preparing to cope with plenty of high balls from the Pumas in the Test.

McKenzie said the Pumas fullback Joaquin Tuculet was a good player in the air both in attack and defence and they had been putting in the technical work at training to prepare for the expected aerial assault.

He had also been trading notes with prospective debut fullback David Havili and was looking forward to seeing him in action during the game.