All Blacks team named for Vista Northern Tour Chicago Test against Ireland
New All Black Scott Barrett selected; Julian Savea to play 50th Test
The All Blacks team to play Ireland in the historic opening Test match of the Vista Northern Tour at Soldier Field, Chicago, on Saturday 5 November, has been named, with new All Black Scott Barrett set to make his Test debut from the bench and Julian Savea to play his 50th Test.
The match-day 23 is (with Test caps in brackets):
1. Joe Moody (20)
2. Dane Coles (46)
3. Owen Franks (87)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (10)
5. Jerome Kaino (75)
6. Liam Squire (6)
7. Sam Cane (37)
8. Kieran Read – captain (94)
9. Aaron Smith (54)
10. Beauden Barrett (46)
11. Julian Savea (49)
12. Ryan Crotty (24)
13. George Moala (3)
14. Waisake Naholo (8)
15. Ben Smith (58)
16. Codie Taylor (11)
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (2)
18. Charlie Faumuina (42)
19. Scott Barrett *
20. Ardie Savea (9)
21. TJ Perenara (26)
22. Aaron Cruden (43)
23. Malakai Fekitoa (20)
The All Blacks team sees the experienced starting front row of props Joe Moody and Owen Franks and hooker Dane Coles named, with Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Charlie Faumuina and Codie Taylor the front row replacements. Loose forward Jerome Kaino, who has covered lock in Tests in the past, will start his first Test in that position alongside Patrick Tuipulotu. It will be a significant day for 22-year-old replacement lock Scott Barrett, the younger brother of Beauden, who is set to make his Test debut and become All Black number 1155, when he takes the field, as expected, from the bench on Saturday.
In the loose forwards, Liam Squire has been named at blindside flanker for his second Test start this year, alongside Sam Cane in the seven jersey, and All Blacks skipper Kieran Read is in his regular eight jersey and will play his 95th Test. Ardie Savea provides loose forward cover off the bench.
In the backs, Aaron Smith returns to the All Blacks starting side for his 55th Test appearance inside first five-eighth Beauden Barrett, while the selectors have gone with the midfield combo of Ryan Crotty at second five-eighth and George Moala at centre. It will also be a milestone moment for Julian Savea who will run out in his 50th Test alongside his fellow winger Waisake Naholo and Vice-Captain Ben Smith at fullback. The replacement backs are TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden and Malakai Fekitoa.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Firstly, we want to congratulate Scott on being selected in the matchday 23 for the first time. It will be special day for him and the entire Barrett family, including his two brothers who are touring with him. Also, we want to congratulate Julian on reaching 50 Tests. That is a significant achievement and again he and his family can be rightly proud of everything he has achieved in the black jersey.
“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.
“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. 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.”
Scott Barrett – mini biography
Athletic, young lock Scott Barrett joined the All Blacks for the Vista Northern Tour as injury cover for Samuel Whitelock. The 2013 New Zealand Under 20 player of the year, Barrett was in impressive form for the Crusaders in the Investec Super Rugby competition and Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup this year. He was one of Canterbury’s best defenders with a tackle success rate over 90 percent, and had 60 carries to his credit throughout the season. He was only 20 when he made his debut for the Crusaders, playing against England during their 2014 tour and although only 22 now, plays with the maturity and vision of a more-experienced player. Scott attended Francis Douglas Memorial College, which as well as producing brother Beauden, was the alma mater of All Blacks midfield legend Conrad Smith.
All Blacks vs Ireland, Chicago – key facts
- Saturday’s Test will be the second time the All Blacks have played in Chicago. The team played the USA here in 2014, winning 74-6.
- The All Blacks and Ireland have played each other 28 times since 1905 with 27 wins to the All Blacks and a single 10-10 draw in 1973.
- The most recent test match was the 24-22 nail-biter at Aviva Stadium, Dublin in 2014, which the All Blacks won with a last minute try and conversion.
- Scott and Beauden Barrett will become the 45th set of All Blacks brothers on Saturday. There will be an even more unique fraternal occurrence on Saturday as well: with two sets of brothers, the Barretts and Saveas, selected in an All Blacks team. The last time that happened was on 22 July 1961 when Ian and Don Clarke played alongside Colin and Stan Meads in the first Test against France on Eden Park.
- Meanwhile, Julian Savea has fond memories of playing Ireland: he scored three tries on debut against them in 2012.
- All Blacks captain Kieran Read and Owen Franks have played Ireland six times.
- All Blacks players hold the top five spots for tries scored by international players this year: Israel Dagg is top with eight tries, Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea and Ben Smith have scored seven, with TJ Perenara on five tries. Meanwhile, Barrett is second on the points-scoring list for 2016, with 118 points scored so far in 2016, with England’s Owen Farrell on 135 points.
The Vista 2016 All Blacks Northern Tour
1. vs IRELAND, Sat 5 Nov, 3.00PM US CDT (Sun 6 Nov, 9.00AM NZT), Soldier Field, CHICAGO
2. vs. ITALY, Sat 12 Nov, 3.00PM CET (Sun 13 Nov, 3.00AM NZT), Stadio Olimpico, ROME
3. vs. IRELAND, Sat 19 Nov, 5.30PM GMT (Sun 20 Nov, 6.30AM NZT), Aviva Stadium, DUBLIN
4. vs. FRANCE, Sat 26 Nov, 9.00PM CET (Sun 27 Nov, 9.00AM NZT)