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New Zealand

Saili ready for All Blacks debut

02nd September 2013 18:57

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Francis Saili ABs v Wellington 2013

Francis Saili: Could make his Test debut against Argentina

Blues midfielder Francis Saili could line up in New Zealand's starting XV when they face Argentina in Hamilton on Saturday.

Veteran centre Ma'a Nonu is struggling with an ankle injury sustained against the Wallabies and is a doubtful starter for this weekend's hit out.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster made it clear that no chances would be taken with Nonu's fitness.

"If we're not totally convinced about the ankle, then we'll make that decision," Foster told Fairfax Media.

"It will be based on where he's at. He's clearly been playing with that ankle bothering him for the last couple of games. He's feeling a lot better now, but it is an option for us not to play him this week."

If Nonu misses the Test against los Pumas, Foster feels Saili is ready to make the step up into the international arena.

"He's certainly been exposed to the environment long enough to be ready," he added.

"We've been impressed with his skill-set.

"He's still a young man but he's had a great Super Rugby campaign, he's confident and we think he'll likely bring that confidence on to the international stage.

"We've got to make sure we've got the right people around him so he can go out and play well."

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