All Blacks: Carter returns to lineup

Dan Carter will be back in the All Blacks for this weekend's test against the Pumas. Photo / Getty Images
Dan Carter will be back in the All Blacks for this weekend's test against the Pumas. Photo / Getty Images

Dan Carter will make his much-awaited return from a calf injury when he lines up at first-five for the All Blacks against Argentina in La Plata on Sunday (NZT).

The All Blacks vice-captain hasn't played for New Zealand since they beat Australia 22-0 at Eden Park on August 25 and Manawatu's Aaron Cruden has deputised in his absence.

Carter's return sees Cruden drop back to the bench as Beauden Barrett moves out of the match-day 22, while the other notable change to the starting XV is the elevation of Aaron Smith who played from pine when the All Blacks beat South Africa 21-11 in Dunedin two weeks ago.

Smith's return is bad news for Piri Weepu who will drop back to the reserves for what will be his 64th test if he takes the field.

Young flanker Sam Cane has been named to the reserves bench for the first time in this year's Rugby Championship, while Otago's Ben Smith will fill the outside back reserve role instead of Tamati Ellison.

The All Blacks lead the Rugby Championship standings with 16 points from four games, while the Pumas are yet to register a win.

All Blacks: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith

- APNZ

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