Kaino to start at lock, Barrett set for All Blacks bow


Jerome Kaino will start at lock for the first time in a Test when New Zealand face Ireland and Scott Barrett is poised to make his debut in Chicago on Saturday.

Loose forward Kaino will don the number five shirt to play alongside Patrick Tuipulotu at Soldier Field.

Replacement lock Barrett, younger brother of All Blacks fly-half Beauden, is in line for his Test bow from the bench against Joe Schmidt's side.

Aaron Smith returns at scrum-half after serving a suspension imposed for breaching the world champions' code of conduct, while prolific winger Julian Savea will win his 50th cap.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said 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."

The All Blacks became the first tier-one nation to win 18 consecutive matches by beating Australia last month, but Hansen knows their record run will be put the test this weekend.

He added: "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."


New Zealand team:  Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, George Moala, Ryan Crotty, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Patrick Tuipulotu, Jerome Kaino, Liam Squire, Sam Cane, Kieran Read (captain).

Replacements: Codie Taylor, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Malakai Fekitoa.