All Blacks at full strength for Argentina clash

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Defending champions New Zealand have named a full-strength side for their opening Rugby World Cup clash with Argentina on Sunday.

The All Blacks go into the match at Wembley keen to get off to a winning start against a team perceived to be their biggest challengers in Pool C.

As a result, head coach Steve Hansen has taken no risks in his selection with 1,211 caps in the starting XV, with prop Tony Woodcock set to equal Jason Leonard's world record of 104 Test starts in the position.

Captain Richie McCaw will lead the team out on his 17th World Cup appearance – an All Blacks record – while Jerome Kaino is the only change from the side that beat Australia last month, the flanker replacing Victor Vito.

"We're all itching to get started, there's real excitement, enthusiasm and hunger in the group," said Hansen.

"We've selected what we believe is a very strong team. We have the utmost respect for Argentina who we know a lot more about now because of their involvement in The Rugby Championship. But it also means they know a lot more about us.

"We will need to be at our very best to get our tournament away to a good start. We've had a great preparation and there will be no excuses for not performing on Sunday."

 

New Zealand team in full:Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read.

Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Victor Vito, Sam Cane, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams.


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