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Scott and Beauden Barrett set to face Ireland for New Zealand

Scott and Beauden Barrett could become the 45th set of All Blacks brothers in Chicago on Saturday, where Jerome Kaino will make his first Test start at lock.

Flanker Kaino will start in the second row in New Zealand's clash against Ireland at Soldier Field, partnering Patrick Tuipulotu in the All Blacks' engine room.

Injuries to stellar lock pairing Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock have forced New Zealand to rejig their resources, with 22-year-old Scott Barrett in line for his All Blacks debut off the bench.

Beauden Barrett will start at fly-half to win his 47th cap, with Aaron Smith returning at scrum-half following his suspension for the tryst with a woman in a Christchurch airport toilet cubicle last month.

"We want to congratulate Scott on being selected in the match day 23 for the first time," said All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen of Scott Barrett's selection.

"It will be special day for him and the entire Barrett family, including his two brothers who are touring with him.

"Returning to Chicago for only the second time in our history has, once again, been a great experience. The team have embraced the sporting atmosphere and the culture of the city and we really appreciate the way we've been looked after by the people of Chicago.

"As far as our preparation for Saturday has gone, we have knuckled down and done some great work throughout the week."

Wing Julian Savea will win his 50th cap in Chicago - and also has a brother on the replacements' bench, in the shape of flanker Ardie.

The All Blacks have duly selected two sets of brothers for the first time since 1961, when Ian and Don Clarke played alongside Colin and Stan Meads, against France at Auckland's Eden Park.

New Zealand have never lost to Ireland, but boss Hansen insists the All Blacks expect a stern test from Joe Schmidt's men.

The All Blacks will bid to extend their record winning streak to 19 matches on Saturday, in the first clash of their northern hemisphere tour.

Hansen admitted to being wary of Ireland boss Schmidt's penchant for developing one-off set moves specially designed to pick apart specific opponents.

"The challenge we face from Ireland is a massive one. They're a well-coached team with quality players, they play to their strengths and they're very good at identifying and attacking the weaknesses of the opposition they face," he said.

"We anticipate them using some special plays that we haven't seen before, as well as bringing a very physical, 'in-your-face' attitude and a structured kicking game. Knowing all this has created a good edge in our group.

"Having said that, I'm most interested in seeing what we'll bring to the contest because, like us, they too have weaknesses and there'll be a need to bring our own physicality, and structures to take the game to them for the full 80 minutes.

"With this being the first game of the four-match Vista Northern Tour, it gives us an opportunity to take our game to the next level."


From Belfast Telegraph