New Zealand v Argentina, Rugby Championship
Francis Saili to debut against Pumas
September 5, 2013
Francis Saili will debut as a replacement for Ma'a Nonu © Getty Images

Francis Saili will become the 17th new All Blacks player of coach Steve Hansen's reign when New Zealand host Argentina in The Rugby Championship Test at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.

The North Harbour and Blues centre, a member of the Junior World Championship-winning New Zealand Under-20 team in 2011, has been selected to allow regular second five-eighth Ma'a Nonu to rest and recuperate his ongoing ankle niggles. "We have complete faith in his ability to do the job," Hansen said of Saili. "He is a very exciting, young player who has a multi-talented skillset that should suit Test rugby."

Hansen was pleased to have first five-eighths Daniel Carter and Beauden Barrett back from injury, replacing Tom Taylor. "We are expecting a very physical encounter but also one that will see them use the flair and talent of their backline," Hansen said. "It is a challenge that we are looking forward to and we are also looking forward to playing in Hamilton."

Saili's Blues team-mate Charlie Faumuina replaces injured Owen Franks at tight-head prop in the only other change to the starting side that defeated Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington. Ben Franks replaces Faumuina on the bench.

New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Francis Saili, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Steven Luatua; Samuel Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Charlie Faumuina, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau.

Follow live text commentary of the Test between New Zealand and Argentina on Saturday, September 7, from 5pm (AEST), 7pm (NZT), 7am (GMT)

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