The All Blacks will need to make sure the basics are done well this evening at a packed out McLean Park.
It cannot be understated that tonight is going to be a crucial night for the career of one Beauden Barrett. Despite his amazing form, Barrett simply must deliver at first five this evening.
If it rains like forecasted, goal kicking could be where the game is won or lost. Barrett’s credibility as an All Black starter cannot be questioned, but even the man himself has spoken out in the media this week saying he does feel the pressure of the occasion.
Many do feel that the Hurricanes first five is already deserving enough of the 10 All Black jersey, but nevertheless Barrett needs to do his job and do it well tonight.
Another exciting change in the lineup is the return of Israel Dagg to the fullback position.
Fresh off winning the Shield last week with Hawkes Bay, Dagg walks into his first home test in his native Napier under some intense pressure. Based on form, Ben Smith has been streaks ahead of Dagg for the past two seasons.
It is absolutely imperative that Isreal Dagg injects himself into the game and not hold back. If he sees a chance to run with the ball, he needs to do so. Running rugby will be difficult enough in the wet conditions so his punting game will also need to be to its usual high standard as the All Blacks will no doubt kick for territory if the rain does arrive.
From an Argentina perspective, there is no doubting that this is a rugby nation which is quickly becoming a force to not be overlooked.
The Argentines should have beaten the Springboks last weekend, and they have arrived in New Zealand heavily talking up their chances of knocking the All Blacks over.
All Black skipper Richie McCaw commented that his side will need to be patient early on in the match.
The forward pack is always talked about when Argentina play the All Blacks, but the Argentines have talked about tackling low in the media this week, their plan is to stop any All Black from breaking through the line with some powerful and committed defense.
If you look at the history, Argentina versus All Blacks games played in New Zealand have always been relatively close on the scoreboard. McCaw has said he expects that trend to continue tonight.
The All Blacks to win tonight. Barrett and Dagg both must perform, no matter what the conditions.