Saturday’s Test at Soldier Field will be Beauden Barrett’s 47th as an All Black but it will be a day of firsts for the Barrett family.
Beauden is now an old hand at the haka but when the record-breaking New Zealand side go through their pre-match routine, he will be keeping half an eye on his younger brother Scott who is set to make his debut for the All Blacks against Ireland from the bench.
If they feature on the field at the same time, they will become the 45th pair of brothers to win All Blacks Test caps but it will also be the first time fly-half Beauden has played alongside second-row Scott in a competitive match.
American rugby isn’t ready to challenge the likes of New Zealand’s mighty All Blacks, but proponents think the pieces are in place for the sport to take off in the U.S.
They grew up together but their professional rugby paths went different ways and it has taken a match in Chicago — 8,339 miles away from their home in Taranaki — to finally unite them.
In the middle of the darkest winter in New Zealand’s Pungarehu, floodlights lit up the night sky above a dairy farm to enable the young Beauden Barrett and his four brothers to play rugby at every available opportunity.
It was Beauden’s mother Robyn who installed them and this weekend she will sit in the stands at Soldier Field and watch her son, the world’s best fly-half, start for the All Blacks with Scott waiting patiently on the sidelines.
It has been a week to end long-standing unwanted records in Chicago and on Saturday, for the first time in 55 years, two different sets of brothers feature in the All Blacks squad as they prepare to face Ireland.
Back in 1961 it was Ian and Don Clarke who featured alongside the great Colin and Stan Meads in New Zealand’s eventual 13-6 win over France at Eden Park. But come Saturday afternoon this feat is likely to be matched as Julian Savea and Beauden Barrett are joined in the squad by replacements Ardie Savea and Scott Barrett.
Ardie, three years Julian’s junior, already has nine caps but for Scott, this is a step into the unknown.
Rugby has always been in the Barrett blood. Beauden is one of eight siblings with father Kevin — a former Taranaki player of some regard — and mother Robyn keeping a watchful eye over their five sons and three daughters.
The other three Barrett brothers are also talented rugby players. Jordie is in Chicago as New Zealand’s tour apprentice, while Kane, the oldest, has played for the Blues and Blake is also on Taranaki’s radar. Come Saturday they are set to have two All Blacks to their family name with the possibility of another in the not too distant future.
“We’re one big family in the All Blacks,” Beauden told ESPN. “It’s just awesome to have a couple of siblings. The opportunity to run out side by side, it’s going to be a proud moment.”
Watching on at Soldier Field will be Robyn who decided to fly in at the last minute. It’s a long way from where they grew up Taranaki, but the two Barrett brothers will look right at home in the famous black jersey.
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/17967741/barrett-brothers-set-united-last-soldier-field
Barrett brothers set to be united at last at Soldier Field
www.espn.co.uk – RUGBY