Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Rugby: Changes likely as All Blacks highlight gulf in class

Jerome Kaino's shoulder injury could make him a doubtful starter for the All Blacks next test against Argentina in Buenos Aires in a fortnight.

The loose forward was replaced in the second half against the Springboks due to an AC joint problem which is causing him considerable pain, and coach Steve Hansen could take the opportunity to rest him as he reshuffles his resources for the test against the Pumas and the return test against the Boks in Durban the week after.

"Jerome is pretty sore," Hansen said. "He's done an AC joint. We won't know how bad it is until tomorrow but I'm picking he won't be jumping around doing handstands tomorrow morning."

Kaino has had shoulder problems in the past and the All Blacks won't take any risks with a player who is taking his destructive game to a new level.

"We're getting to that point in the season where we have to roll the dice anyway," Hansen added. "You can't keep picking the same athletes all the time and expect to have the same zip and zing come the end of the season.

"We have to go around the world twice in eight weeks and play seven test matches so we're going to have to use the rest of the squad and that will probably start against Argentina. There will probably be some new faces on the bench or even starting. We'll have to play it smart."

Kaino's injury will open the door for Liam Squire or Highlanders teammate Elliot Dixon. And while flanker Ardie Savea, who was starting his first test, perhaps struggled with his accuracy in the opening 30 minutes, his impact was telling as the All Blacks found their rhythm.

Particularly pleasing for Hansen, who watched as his team yet again over-run the opposition in the final quarter, was the performance of the scrum and lineout.

"The set piece I think has been outstanding all season," he said. "The lineout has been operating at a really high level. Yes we lost a couple against Argentina and we lost one tonight with an over-throw but outside of that it's been probably the leading lineout in the competition.

"The scrum has been outstanding, with the work the boys have been doing and Owen [Franks] is leading that with Crono [Mike Cron]. They're scrummaging very well and you can't just scrum with a front row you have to scrum with the whole eight.

"We're scoring some great tries off it and we scored some more tonight. Fozzie [assistant coach Ian Foster] deserves a pat on the back because he came up with the plays that we scored off, the boys went out there and executed his plan. It's really satisfying when that happens."

Allister Coetzee's team were in the game at halftime in terms of the scoreboard, but had few answers as the home side ramped up the pace in the second half. "It's obviously very disappointing, just the amount of basic errors that we made," Coetzee said. "But there are positives as well, particularly in the first half. With ball in hand we created a lot of pressure."

- NZ Herald

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