June 14, 2017 / 5:44 PM / 4 months ago

Rugby-Smith to captain Barrett trio against Samoa

AUCKLAND, June 15 (Reuters) - The Barrett brothers are set to become the first trio of siblings to play in the same test for New Zealand after being named in the All Blacks squad to play Samoa at Eden Park on Friday.

Flyhalf Beauden will play his 50th test, while younger brother Jordie is expected to make his debut from the bench.

Canterbury Crusaders lock Scott, who played four tests last year, is also on the bench for the game which was organised to help the All Blacks prepare for their test series against the British and Irish Lions, which starts on June 24.

Fullback Ben Smith will lead the side for the first time in the absence of Kieran Read, who is still recovering from thumb surgery.

“He’s been our vice-captain for a few years now and captain of the Highlanders, where he’s been doing a fantastic job, so was the logical choice,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in a statement.

Wellington Hurricanes forward Vaea Fifita, who was brought into the squad as injury cover, should also make his debut off the bench.

“It’s also going to be a big night for Jordie and Vaea as they’re both likely to play a part,” Hansen added. “They’ve both been in great form and we’re looking forward to seeing what they can do at this level.”

Aaron Smith also beat off the challenge of TJ Perenara for the starting role at scrumhalf in what would arguably have been Hansen’s most difficult decision.

Jerome Kaino will make his return following knee surgery, while Ardia Savea will slot in at number eight in place of Read.

The All Blacks, who have often appeared rusty in the first test of their international seasons, organised the game against Samoa to help with their preparations for the Lions.

“Once it became a reality, it then took on its own importance. This is a test match against a quality and very capable opponent,” Hansen added.

“This first week has been about bringing together the players from the five different Super clubs and reintroducing them to the All Blacks way.”

New Zealand: 15-Ben Smith (captain), 14-Israel Dagg, 13-Anton Lienert-Brown, 12-Sonny Bill Williams, 11-Julian Savea, 10- Beauden Barrett, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Ardie Savea, 7-Sam Cane, 6-Jerome Kaino, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16-Nathan Harris, 17-Wyatt Crockett, 18-Charlie Faumuina, 19-Scott Barrett, 20-Vaea Fifita, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Lima Sopoaga, 23-Jordie Barrett.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Neville Dalton

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