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All Blacks steeled for assault from Argentina's bash boys

Date

Robert Lowe

"They will play that bash game that they played last night. I can't imagine them wanting to play an expansive game" ... All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

"They will play that bash game that they played last night. I can't imagine them wanting to play an expansive game" ... All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. Photo: Getty Images

AUCKLAND: The All Blacks are preparing for the traditional physical battle up front against Argentina when the Rugby Championship resumes in a fortnight.

New Zealand sit on top of the table as the only team with a 100 per cent record at the end of two rounds, after completing the double over the Wallabies with a 22-0 victory in a contest played at quick tempo in Auckland on Saturday night.

The Pumas' surprise 16-16 draw with South Africa in Mendoza hours later was, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said, ''a very interesting result'' and a good one for the Argentinians, who he believed were unlucky not to win.

What the match showed him is to expect the Pumas to continue with their characteristic game plan of looking to dominate in the forwards. Argentina controlled long stages of the match against the Springboks through superb commitment in the tackle and at the breakdown.

''It's going to be real physical up front,'' Hansen said yesterday. ''They will play that bash game that they played last night. I can't imagine them wanting to play an expansive game.

''They are more comfortable using their forwards and that's what we'll expect, but I guess we'll have to plan for the other as well.''

The four-nation tournament takes a week's break before resuming on September 8 with New Zealand hosting Argentina in Wellington, and Australia and South Africa facing off in Perth.

The only All Blacks injury of note out of their victory at Eden Park was second-rower Luke Romano's bang on the shoulder.

Hansen said it would be a couple of days before the extent of the problem was known, but the early signs were that it might take Romano only a week or so to get over it.

He said centre Conrad Smith and prop Tony Woodcock were on target to recover from eye and rib injuries respectively and be in line for selection against the Pumas.

A number of the All Blacks squad are being released to play in the ITM Cup next week, but Smith, who underwent surgery for a detached retina after the Super Rugby season, is not among them.

''The timetable is such that his first game available will be for us,'' Hansen said. ''We're confident in his fitness. He's proven before that he can come straight back in and do the job.''

AAP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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