RICHIE McCAW HAS a couple of crucial items he wants to scratch from his checklist before he takes his planned, six-month sabbatical from the game.
The All Black captain has 98 international wins to his name and can sign off, for now, with victories 99 and 100 in the next week.
New Zealand currently sit atop the 2012 Rugby Championship table and are perilously close to capturing back the title won by Australia last season. McCaw would like his trophy (won in 2010) back.
His side are eight points clear of Australia, in second place, but the possibility of bonus point wins offer the Wallabies hope.
The All Blacks have been run close in twice in the championship campaign but will be confident of keeping Argentina winless.
The Saturday match in La Plata, Argentina will not be an easy evening’s work for McCaw and his colleagues. The Pumas drew 16-16 with South Africa in their last home fixture.
Dan Carter, who returns to the AB’s line-up, told the New Zealand Herald:
You almost have to earn the right to attack against (Argentina) and be extremely physical with the ball in hand but also really smart.
“They like to slide and push you to the sidelines and we have to make sure we do the fundamentals well – catch and pass and run straight.”
In the championship’s other tie, Australia take on South Africa in Pretoria on the same night.
Robbie Deans, fresh from another squabble with Quade Cooper, has selected Kurtley Beale at fly-half, with tournament top-scorer Berrick Barnes at full-back.
The Wallabies needed tries from Pat McCabe and Digby Ioane to come back from a 19-6 deficit last weekend, while the Springboks were put out of commission by super-sub Aaron Smith.
Inside centre Francois Steyn was a late injury omission but Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar has been retained at scrum-half for the third game in succession.