All Blacks coach Ian Foster kept his starting lineup unchanged for his team's Rugby Championship test against Argentina in Hamilton on Saturday, backing the same players to turn the tables on the Pumas after the upset in Christchurch.

Only the bench was shaken up, with flyhalf Beauden Barrett and lock Brodie Retallick returning from injury, and hooker Codie Taylor out after lineout struggles late in New Zealand's 25-18 loss to the Pumas last week.

Foster's pick-and-stick policy confounded some fans and pundits, who had called for captain and flanker Sam Cane to be dropped, among other changes, after the team slumped to its sixth loss in eight tests.

But the embattled coach said the problem was in the way the All Blacks finished in Christchurch, not in how they started.

"For those that want blood, I guess we haven't given it, have we?" he told reporters.

"But ... we've been pretty ruthless and hard on ourselves behind the scenes. We're hurting with where the team's at.

"But if you play under fear then you restrict your options, you restrict your thinking ... and what actually happens is you just don't get the game going the way you want to do it."

Having suffered their first-ever defeat against Argentina on home soil last week, the defending champion All Blacks are third in the Rugby Championship standings behind the first-place Pumas and Australia.

A loss in Hamilton would put the All Blacks' title defense in jeopardy and heap more pressure on Foster and his staff despite a strong endorsement from New Zealand Rugby after a review last month.

Barrett, who missed the test in Christchurch with a neck injury, replaces Stephen Perofeta on the bench, while Retallick replaces Tupou Vaa'i after recovering from a broken cheekbone from the series-deciding loss to Ireland in July.

The abrasive Dane Coles comes in for Taylor, while recalled loose forward Dalton Papali'i edges Akira Ioane out of the side.

Foster said he needed better from his team in the last quarter after a disappointing ending in Christchurch.

He was confident enough in his selections, however, to release eight players from the squad, some of whom will head back to provincial rugby.

"I think there's enough evidence that we're getting there in many parts of our game but it's just (about) growing that confidence when we get into the tail end of the game," he said.

"It's an area that great All Black teams have always been good in that last 15 minutes, of backing themselves and doing the right thing."