All Blacks prepared for Pumas intensity

Argentina may just have stumbled upon the blueprint for success against the All Blacks two weeks ago, according to assistant Ian Foster.

But producing the intensity required to keep it going for the full 80 minutes is another matter entirely.

Los Pumas combined strength at the breakdown, off-loading and set-piece competence to rattle the world champions in their Rugby Championship tie in Hamilton.

The South American side scored the first try and went into the break only five points behind before collapsing in the final half-hour to lose 57-22.

Foster told Radio Sport the coaching set-up was looking to produce a game plan capable of subduing Los Pumas’ exuberance around the park.

That meant adapting some structures for Saturday’s encounter in Buenos Aires to ward off predictability.

Players have also repeatedly spoken of the need to dominate the encounter early and silence a raucous Argentinian home crowd.

“I guess you can talk about their 50 minutes, and we did pretty well in that last 30 but we’ve got to be careful,” Foster said.

“They would’ve learned a lot about us in that last 30.”

The All Blacks have traditionally eschewed frequent squad changes under current coach Steve Hansen, sticking to the tried-and-true to get the job done.

But Foster felt he and his fellow coaches had learned in previous tours that some changes were necessary to keep energy levels high.

All players were training well in the lead up to Saturday’s match and would have until Wednesday to put themselves in the frame for a run-on position.

Either Elliot Dixon or Liam Squire will fill in for the crocked Jerome Kaino at blindside, while others including prop Wyatt Crockett could start.

However Foster said squad changes, if made, would not be wholesale.

“If we are putting newer players in there, then they’ve got players around them that can enable them to just go out there and do what they need to,” Foster said.

Crockett, 33, said he and his fellow front row teammates had been training hard in the hope of overcoming Los Pumas’ renowned physicality.

Scrums, mauls and line-outs were particular areas of focus.

“There’s a pretty good threat, you could be embarrassed scrumming Argentina,” the Crusaders veteran said.

The 52-cap Crockett, who made his Test debut in 2009, also expressed his wish to play through to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

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