3 Barrett brothers named by All Blacks to meet France
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Jordie, Beauden and Scott Barrett will become the first trio of brothers to start a test for the All Blacks when they line up Saturday in the first of three matches against France.
Beauden will take his regular place at flyhalf, Scott will replace the injured Brodie Retallick at lock and Jordie will play his third test at fullback in a backline reorganized because of injuries.
Jordie's chance comes with the selectors' unexpected decision to move Ben Smith from his regular position at fullback to the right wing in place of Waisake Naholo.
Ryan Crotty and Anton Lienert-Brown will combine in midfield in a partnership dictated by the absence through injury of Sonny Bill Williams.
The forward pack also includes a pair of brothers. Sam Whitelock will captain the team for the second time from lock while Luke Barrett will make his third test appearance at No. 8 in place of regular captain Kieran Read, who is recovering from back surgery.
Liam Squire will play on the blindside and Sam Cane, despite injury concerns, has been named on the openside in one of the weakest All Blacks backrows in recent years.
Uncapped prop Karl Tu'inukuafe has been named on the bench, marking a spectacular rise for a player in his first season of Super Rugby.
Tu'inukuafe was only called up by the Hamilton-based Chiefs after a series of injuries to front rowers. He had considered giving up rugby four years ago when he weighed 170kg (375 pounds) and he was ordered by a doctor to lose weight.
"He has had a couple of breaks probably when you think about what has happened at the Chiefs with their front rowers, but he has come in and done the job for them," head coach Steve Hansen said. "The Chiefs are the No. 1 scrummaging side in Super Rugby and Karl is a big part of that so he became an obvious selection when we got down to it.
"It has been a spectacular rise for Karl but his selection is well deserved and we look forward to watching him play his part on Saturday night. He and his family can be very proud about what he is about to achieve.
"It's also a special night for the Barrett family with Beaudy, Scott and Jordie all starting the test match, the first trio of All Black brothers to do so, so we congratulate them on their historic milestone."
Jordie Barrett's selection comes only days after he made national headlines for his behavior off the field. Police were called when Barrett and a friend were found eating hamburgers in the living room of a stranger's home in Dunedin at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning.
The incident occurred after Barrett's Hurricanes Super Rugby team had played the Highlanders in Dunedin and police accepted Barrett's explanation he had entered the house in the mistaken belief it belonged to a friend.
Injuries have given the team a makeshift look in some places and Hansen said the All Blacks would try to play a simple game.
"While rugby is a complicated game, we've worked hard at simplifying those complexities this week so that we can go out and play with real confidence, high energy and genuine intent," he said.
New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Luke Whitelock, Sam Cane, iam Squire, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock (captain), Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.
Replacements: Nathan Harris, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, T.J. Perenara, Damian McKenzie, Ngani Laumape.
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