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Exciting Los Pumas impress Kerr-Barlow

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/09/2016

All Blacks halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow says Los Pumas are going from strength to strength as a result of participation in Super Rugby.

The large majority of Argentina's playing stocks come from new Super Rugby outfit Los Jaguares, who just completed their first season in the SANZAAR competition.

They finished the campaign with four wins from 15 matches.

Kerr-Barlow, who has lost his role as second-choice No.9 to incumbent Aaron Smith this season, is yet to get on the pitch in the Rugby Championship with TJ Perenara being preferred off the bench.

However the Chiefs gun may see game time in Buenos Aires on Saturday as coach Steve Hansen looks to rotate his playing stocks.

He said Los Pumas were playing faster, more exciting rugby as a result of their exposure to Super Rugby.

"We see a lot more willingness to attack from anywhere around the paddock and go wide," the 26-year-old Kerr-Barlow said.

"They've got fantastic backs and they've always had great forwards so they have a strong platform up front."

Vice-skipper Ben Smith echoed Kerr-Barlow's remarks, saying Argentina had made life difficult for his side in their 57-22 win in Hamilton three weeks ago.

They had matched the world champions for intensity in the opening 50 minutes of the encounter, combining set-piece efficiency with flair and strength at the ruck, before fading in the face of a second-half onslaught.

"They put a lot of pressure on us last time with the offloads and the way they played around the ruck," Smith said.

Kerr-Barlow, who has made 21 appearances for the All Blacks since his 2012 debut, couldn't wait to experience the festive Argentinian crowd.

"There's going to be a huge amount of support and they're really vocal here in this country, and I think that excites the boys a lot," Kerr-Barlow said.

"We know the Argentinians are going to come out firing, so we just enjoy it."

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