All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen, who seemingly has an inexhaustible supply of players he can plug into his lineup as his whims dictate, has made seven changes to his starting side for an upcoming match against Argentina in a Rugby Championship game Saturday in New Plymouth.
It is believed that he is adding the new players as a method to build depth and keep the recently resurgent South Africa Springboks side off balance.
Hansen will rest Liam Squire and Jerome Kaino is out as he deals with a personal issue, meaning that Vaea Fifita will get his first start for the All Blacks. For those who wonder, Vaea Fifita is the cousin of the formidable Cronulla Sharks prop Andrew Fifita.
Hansen did not spare the praise when commenting on the latest Fifita to make a mark in rugby, even if it is union, rather than league.
“I want to see a real physical beast that we know he can be,” Hansen said of the 25-year-old, who now weighs 116kgs having put more than six kilograms onto his 1.96m frame since being in the All Blacks setup. “He is physical, he likes being physical and that’s not something you can coach.It’s quite handy to have someone in your team like that, because it usually puts the fear of God in the opposition, if they’re good at it, and we’re hoping he’s going to be.”
We do not actually claim to know exactly how much, or even whether they do or not, the Argentinians or the South Africans fear God, but if playing the All Blacks is not scary enough, then it would seem as though both sides lack the gene for fear.
The game in New Plymouth will also see a return by winger Nehe Milner-Skudder, who has had a bad couple of years due to injuries.