New Zealand recall Mark Telea and Sam Whitelock for Argentina clash

Mark Telea in action for New Zealand v South Africa during 2023 Summer Internationals Mark Telea returns for the All Blacks in their semi-final against Argentina (David Davies/PA)

New Zealand have recalled wing Mark Telea and lock Sam Whitelock for Friday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against Argentina in Paris.

Telea was left out the All Blacks’ 28-24 quarter-final victory over Ireland after breaching team protocols.

The 26-year-old starts on the left flank in place of Leicester Fainga’anuku, who drops out of the matchday 23, despite scoring the first of the Kiwis’ three tries against the Irish.

Veteran second row Whitelock swaps roles with Brodie Retallick in the other alteration to Ian Foster’s starting XV to win his 152nd cap. Retallick is on the bench.

Samisoni Taukei’aho takes the spot of fellow hooker Dane Coles among the replacements.

Three-time winners New Zealand are strong favourites to progress and would face England or reigning champions South Africa in the final.

Yet underdogs Argentina have won two of the past seven meetings between the nations, including a landmark first success on New Zealand soil – 25-18 in Christchurch – in last year’s Rugby Championship.

New Zealand team to face Argentina in Rugby World Cup Semi-Final

Forwards: 1 Ethan de Groot, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 5 Scott Barrett, 6 Shannon Frizell, 7 Sam Cane (Captain), 8 Ardie Savea

Backs: 9 Aaron Smith, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 11 Mark Tele’a, 12 Jordie Barrett, 13 Rieko Ioane, 14 Will Jordan, 15 Beauden Barrett

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Dalton Papali'i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

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