Richie McCaw
McCaw will hope to take his international bow as a double World Cup winner. Getty Images

Day three at the Rugby World Cup ends with New Zealand beginning the defence of their title against Rugby Championship rivals Argentina.

Where to watch

New Zealand vs Argentina kicks off at 4:45pm BST on Sunday 20 September. Live coverage is available on ITV HD and BBC Radio Five Live.


The hosts may have taken their bow in the tournament but the Rugby World Cup will truly kick into gear upon the arrival of the defending champions New Zealand, whose all-star team will look to become the first nation to retain the trophy in the tournament's history. Starting the showcase event with the four most experienced players in their rugby history, the Kiwis are the outstanding favourites to cling on to their crown, a victory which would represent their first on foreign lands.

But within New Zealand's strength there lies their weakness, with their experience exposing the ageing nature of Steve Hansen's squad with many players the wrong side of 30 and crucially having won the William Webb Ells trophy four years ago, with little to achieve. There may be no more complete team in the world rugby, and more capable of blowing their opposition away.

Juan Imhoff
Imhoff holds the key for Argentina emerging from their group as contenders for the title. Getty Images

In the form of Argentina there is a team with the ability to provide a shock both on the opening weekend and beyond. The impressive Pumas pack sets the platform for a back line which includes Juan Imhoff, fresh from his hat-trick against South Africa in the Rugby Championship. Not as impressive a side as the one which reached the last four eight years ago, but a threat nonetheless.

However, ahead one of the matches of the pool phase at Wembley, the reality is New Zealand's record against the South Americans, which has seen them win 20 out of 21 meetings with a draw back in 1985 the closest Argentina have got, makes any sort of upset unlikely. Argentina's biggest tests come in the form of Tonga and potentially Ireland in the knock-out phase.


New Zealand: 15. Ben Smith, 14. Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13. Conrad Smith, 12. Ma'a Nonu, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Aaron Smith; 1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Dane Coles, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Richie McCaw (c), 8. Kieran Read.

Replacements: 16. Keven Mealamu, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Charlie Faumuina, 19. Victor Vito, 20. Sam Cane, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. Beauden Barrett, 23. Sonny Bill Williams.

Argentina: 15. Joaquin Tuculet, 14. Santiago Cordero, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Juan Martin Hernandez, 11. Juan Imhoff, 10. Nicolas Sanchez, 9. Tomas Cubelli, 1. Marcos Ayerza, 2. Agustin Creevy, 3. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 4. Guido Petti, 5. Tomas Lavanini, 6. Pablo Matera, 7. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 8. Leonardo Senatore.

Replacements: 16. Julian Montoya, 17. Lucas Noguera, 18. Ramiro Herrera, 19. Mariano Galarza, 20. Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21. Martin Landajo, 22. Jeronimo De La Fuente, 23. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosin.

What the coaches say

Steven Hansen: "We are contenders just like the other 19 teams in the tournament. We know we have talent but you need the right attitude and you have to earn the right to progress through the round robin and then the knock-out stage. If you expect it to happen, it won't; you have to make it happen. We are here to win the World Cup, but you achieve that through effort, not wanting.

"The tournament brings out an extra intensity and purpose that other Test matches do not have. While we have to win every Test match between World Cups, I am not sure that is the case with other teams. I think they would like to, but it is not the end of the world if they don't. What we know in this tournament is that everyone will turn up and they will be full of desire and commitment. We have to increase ours.

Steve Hansen
Hansen has been keen to downplay New Zealand\'s status as favourites. Getty Images

Daniel Hourcade: "We only had a short time together, a short time to prepare. Many (Pumas) players came from Europe and were starting their season. For us it is the same... doesn't matter if it's the first game or final group game. The All Blacks are always the All Blacks. They are the best team in the world.

"We have shown by beating South Africa and Australia (in 2014) that we are developing and I continue to hope we keep making history. "Even when we have played well against the All Blacks we did not even get close. On paper we are not favourites, but we have come here with the idea of having a great World Cup."

Other fixtures:

12pm: Samoa v USA

2:30pm: Wales v Uruguay