The All Blacks pride themselves on their ability to improve and adjust. The sad news around Brodie Retallick, and a disappointing second half performance against the Pumas, will put that to the test this week.

Originally scheduled to start against the Springboks, Retallick will now not join the All Blacks in Cape Town this week after he and wife Niki lost their baby boy prematurely.

"We're really feeling for them at this sad time and our thoughts are with them and their families," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.

Vaea Fifita, Ngani Laumape, Waisake Naholo, Luke Romano and Ardie Savea are also returning home, allowing Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Liam Squire, Ryan Crotty and Lima Sopoaga to join the team in South Africa.

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Retallick's place alongside Whitelock in the second row will be filled by Scott Barrett or Patrick Tuipulotu.

Elsewhere, Crotty should link with Sonny Bill Williams in the midfield, with Cane and Squire likely to slot into the preferred loose forward trio.

Fifita's return home opens the door for Jerome Kaino to make his comeback. Nehe Milner-Skudder will also be favoured to be back on the right wing.

Interestingly, the backline has been tasked with taking responsibility for the underwhelming second half in Buenos Aires, where the All Blacks managed only one late try after notching four in the first spell.

While loose forwards Matt Todd and captain Kieran Read copped yellow cards to put the All Blacks under pressure - and Read, with five yellow cards, is now the most carded All Black ever - it was the backs who failed to capitalise on a largely dominant platform.

On the whole, Hansen and assistant Ian Foster were satisfied with the 36-10 victory but, as far as improvements are concerned, the focus will fall on the backline.

"We certainly got a little bit flat-footed in that second half," Foster said.

"Changing the combinations around probably didn't help things. I'm not sure we adapted as well as we should have. We probably needed a little bit more hard running in that second half.

"The Argentinian team spread well and covered the field and yet we still tried to go around them and that got us into trouble. That was a bigger variable rather than the line speed."

Praising the efforts of Wyatt Crockett, Savea and Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Hansen was not so pleased with the impact from his backline replacements.

"Where we probably lost our way a little bit was in the backs," Hansen said. "We didn't take the obvious things that were on; we tried to get a little tricky. But, in saying that, David Havili had a taste of test rugby. He scored a try, so he'll be feeling pretty good about himself.

"Matt Todd was pretty unlucky to be yellow carded, to be frank. When I looked at the tape, I didn't think he'd done anything wrong, but the ref called it, so we have to live with that.

"It won't be the last time we have to deal with something like that and now this group of people has had the experience."

Asked specifically about TJ Perenara's contribution after replacing Aaron Smith with 35 minutes to play, Foster said: "I don't think that was the reason we got muddled. Even in the first half, we got put under a lot of pressure at the back of the ruck. It's hard to compare people to Aaron when you're looking at speed of ball.

"But if you look at TJ - he defended well and won turnovers. He ran the blind and put in a grubber - that was a great decision but it just went a bit long. He's outstanding in his own right."