All Blacks expect rejuvenated Argentina

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Lynn McConnell     02 Sep 2018     Getty Images

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he had been impressed by the continuity Argentina had achieved between Investec Super Rugby and the Championship, especially bringing through the players that had been involved in the side's improved Super Rugby showing.

They would have been disappointed to lose the first Test against South Africa but they had turned that around in the second game at home.

"They like to play it up the middle but they now look like they want to use the backs. Their backs are big and fast so it is going to be a good contest," Hansen said.

New coach Mario Ledesma had improved the side's scrummaging through selection and technique.

"I think his time with Australia will have broadened how he thinks about the game. It's no different to any of us if we get outside our comfort zone of our own national way of playing and you grow and develop and he's done that and taken it back to Argentina and got pretty good results so far," he said.

Both second five-eighths Ryan Crotty and flanker Sam Cane were tracking well from injury issues suffered in the Tests against Australia and a decision would be made about them during the week. They were both symptom free.

Sonny Bill Williams was to train with the side for the week and if he did well he would come into consideration for the Test against South Africa next week. It would be a case of going through contact work to make sure his shoulder was all right.

While there would be more strength added to the midfield with Williams' return it was a case of picking the right players for how the selectors wanted to play. It was the same across the side where there was strength in all positions. The beauty of that, Hansen said, was when injuries did occur they didn't have to rush players back.

Having the chance to play a Test in Nelson was exciting. The All Blacks had never played a Test in the area.

"It's the home of the oldest rugby club in New Zealand and it's got a rich history and it's nice to be supporting the community," Hansen said.