New Zealand have recalled Mark Telea for their Rugby World Cup semi-final against Argentina after the wing was dropped last week for disciplinary reasons.
Telea was axed for the Ireland quarter-final showdown after breaking a team curfew, with his place in the side going to Leicester Fainga’anuku who scored the opening try against Ireland.
However, head coach Ian Foster has decided to bring Telea straight back into the side to face Argentina with Fainga’anuku dropping out of the matchday 23 entirely.
Foster said regarding the decision to hand Telea a reprieve: “Mark has done his time. Like I said at the time, he made a mistake. He accepted what was happening but you don’t linger in that space. He has been our form winger through this tournament and we believe he is in a good place to play this game.
“We have really enjoyed Leicester’s game. He did a lot of what we asked him to do last week. He should be proud of that and it’s a tough selection, but it’s a chance to get Mark back on the park and I know he is excited.”
The other changes to New Zealand’s side sees Sam Whitelock come into the starting line-up in place of Brodie Retallick.
Whitelock made a crucial intervention in the latter stages against Ireland, coming off the bench to win the final turnover as New Zealand progressed. Samisoni Taukei’aho also replaces the veteran hooker Dane Coles on the bench.
Addressing how the All Blacks would handle the mental challenge of overcoming their excellent performance against Ireland, Foster likened defeating Andy Farrell’s team to the equivalent of playing in a final.
“We had to play a final last week, to be fair. What you’re seeing now, with the teams that are in the top eight teams in the tournament, every game was like that,” Foster added.
“Every team got pushed to the edge, and so it’s probably a reflection of where world rugby is at now that you have to go bone deep in everything you do now to get to where we have got. It’s not a matter of holding anything back, it’s about treasuring each moment, treasuring each week.
“We’ve got to give it everything, there’s no tomorrow. It’s a very simple formula. It’s not about worrying about can we do what we did last week. We cannot worry about can we do it again, but can we meet this challenge this week.
Meanwhile, Argentina have made only one change with Gonzalo Bertranou starting in place of Tomás Cubelli at scrum-half.
Michael Cheika, the team’s head coach, discussed how his team had progressed to the semi-finals after such a disappointing start to the competition against England.
“It was difficult but we always kept faith and we know the work we have been doing; internally we knew we were ready, we needed to work on some details,” Cheika said. “This is how we face these difficult moments. We can face problems at any point but our confidence in our players and staff [made us believe we’d get better].”
How they line up
Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia, Emiliano Boffelli, Lucio Cinti, Santiago Chocobares, Mateo Carreras, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou; Facundo Isa, Marcos Kremer, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Francisco Gómez Kodela, Julian Montoya (captain), Thomas Gallo.
Reserves: Agustín Creevy, Joel Sclavi, Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Rodrigo Bruni, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Nicolas Sanchez, Matías Moroni.
New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Mark Tele’a, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith; Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (captain), Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Tyrel Lomax, Codie Taylor, Ethan de Groot.
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Brodie Retallick, Dalton Papali’i, Finlay Christie, Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown.
How to watch on TV
ITV has exclusive broadcast rights to show the Rugby World Cup in the UK. The Argentina v New Zealand semi-final match will be on ITV 1.
Radio commentary will be available only on the BBC, across Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds service. The BBC offers a “bespoke output” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
How do I get tickets?
Tickets for this match, if they are still available, can be purchased via the official Rugby World Cup ticket portal.
Argentina’s results so far
New Zealand’s results so far
Best of the latest odds
- South Africa: 19/20
- New Zealand: 5/4
- England: 14/1
- Argentina: 40/1
Odds correct as of October 18. Having a punt? First take a look at these Rugby World Cup free bets and betting offers.