Monday 18 December 2017

Beauden and Jordie to put sibling rivalry to one side

Beauden Barrett kicks a penalty during the Second Test match between the All Blacks and the Lions. Photo: Sportsfile
Beauden Barrett kicks a penalty during the Second Test match between the All Blacks and the Lions. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

They've already got three All Blacks in the house, but tomorrow's game is set to be a special occasion for the Barrett clan, once of Co Meath, as they prepare to watch Beauden, Scott and Jordie in black.

Steve Hansen yesterday admitted that the trio of capped brothers are a most unusual combination, but they are taking the achievement in their stride.

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At 26, World Cup winner Beauden is by far the most established of the brothers but 20-year-old Jordie is very highly rated and has been pitched into the game of his life for his first start in black.

Scott will be introduced off the bench as he has been in both Tests to date and their father Kevin and mother Robyn will travel from the family farm near New Plymouth to be in the crowd to see them all in action.

Certainly, Hansen has few fears about pitching the youngest sibling - who was eligible to play for New Zealand at this year's U-20 World Cup - into battle.

"He's very good in the air and he's also a good defender," the head coach said.

"We have worked hard on his positioning and he is a quality player. He played well for the Hurricanes against the Lions and we have confidence in him.

"He comes from fairly good stock and is a calm and confident sort of bloke. We would not have picked him if we didn't think he could go out there and play. Whatever happens on Saturday night, he's only going to get better and better."

There has been much speculation that the younger man will do the kicking, but Hansen suggested Beauden may keep the tee.

"I think they both want to do the kicking. When both brothers want something, it's usually the older brother who gets to do it first," he said.

Later, the pair of Hurricanes conducted a combined press conference in which Beauden suggested they'd have a contest for the responsibility.

"We will have a comp this afternoon and see what happens," the World Player of the Year said with a smile.

"I don't know if I have given him any advice. He doesn't need it, he trained very well on Tuesday and I think with the outside backs in their little group they have been communicating really well and have been working well as a combination and the coaches have been great.

"You don't want to put too much in a young fella's head because you want him to go out there and play footie and he is good enough to do it, that is why he has been picked."

Jordie was a prominent member of the Hurricanes side that drew with the Lions' mid-week side last week, playing at full-back and out-half during the entertaining encounter.

He made his debut against Samoa off the bench in the All Blacks' warm-up game before the series but says he has no fears of the step up.

"I am really excited. I can't wait to get stuck in on Saturday night. We have had a good week training and preparation has been as normal, so we are looking forward to it," he said.

"We have all got our responsibility in the team and whether it is one Test or 100, we have got to do our job and no one can go quiet."

Having older brother Beauden as well as Hurricanes team-mates Julian Savea and Ngani Laumape around him will be a help.

"There is no doubt," he said.

"It goes without saying that I am more familiar with those guys after playing with them during the year but we have been training as a squad this year and have become familiar in the last few weeks and we trust in each other to do our jobs.

"That game sort of turned in the second-half when our forwards started to get a roll on but I am just happy to play wherever and I am just trusting my preparation during the week and backing myself."

It is a major step up, but the Barretts appear to be born for this big stage.

Irish Independent

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