Foster backs All Blacks new boy Perofeta to make his mark

By Sports Desk August 25, 2022

Stephen Perofeta has convinced Ian Foster he is ready for international rugby after earning a spot in New Zealand's match squad for Saturday's clash with Argentina.

The 25-year-old, a polished performer at fly-half and full-back, comes into a group lifted by victory over South Africa at Ellis Park last time out.

All Black head coach Foster named Perofeta as the only new face for this weekend's clash in Christchurch, as the third round of the Rugby Championship rolls around.

The Blues and Taranaki star said he felt "extremely grateful and blessed to be in this position", adding: "The opportunity has presented itself for a potential debut. I can't explain the feeling. I'm excited to say the least."

With Beauden Barrett unavailable because of a neck problem, Foster had no hesitation in selecting the uncapped Perofeta among the replacements, saying he had been "quite impressive" in camp.

"He's confident, he's happy to talk in front of the group, but the main thing is he is leading by learning on the park," Foster said, quoted on the All Blacks website. "He's got a double role to learn [at first five-eighths and fullback] but he's done that particularly well."

Argentina crushed Australia 48-17 in the second round of the championship, after losing to the Wallabies in their opener.

Foster has been impressed by the Pumas and said: "Clearly, for those who watched their last two games, they're playing a fast, expansive game, and with that typical Argentinian combativeness at the breakdown.

"Those things I don't think will change. But, I think they're playing with a bit more ambition. I'm pretty impressed with what they delivered in their last Test, and I'm sure they're going to be coming here having a no-fear approach for this game, and to give it everything they've got."


New Zealand team: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Ethan de Groot, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Tyrel Lomax, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane (captain), Ardie Savea.

Replacements: Codie Taylor, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Tupou Vaa'i, Akira Ioane, Finlay Christie, Stephen Perofeta, Quinn Tupaea.

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