Kaino moves to All Blacks second row

by AFP

All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino has been moved into the second row as New Zealand brace for a physical challenge against Ireland in the opening Test of their Northern Hemisphere tour at Chicago's Soldier Field on Saturday.

Kaino, 33, will partner Patrick Tuipuloto in the second row as the world champions pack down against an Ireland team bidding to end New Zealand's 18-match winning streak.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen reshuffled his pack after injuries and absenteeism decimated his resources at lock.

The All Blacks have been enjoying Chicago. Photo: Getty ImagesRegulars Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick are both injured while Luke Romano returned to New Zealand earlier this week after a sudden family bereavement.

The experienced Kaino, who will win his 75th cap, adds physicality to the engine room of the All Blacks pack in what Hansen is expecting to be a bruising encounter.

"The challenge we face from Ireland is a massive one," Hansen said.

"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.

Aaron Smith will be available for selection in Auckland. Photo: Getty Images"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."

Anticipation of the physical challenge had "created a good edge in our group", Hansen added.

"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."

Elsewhere, Saturday's Test sees wing Julian Savea earn his 50th cap while Scott Barrett -- younger brother of fly-half Beauden Barrett -- is poised to make his debut from the bench.

Scrum-half Aaron Smith meanwhile will return at No.9 for his first start since his suspension in October after being caught having sex with a woman in an airport toilet.

New Zealand team to face Ireland

1. Joe Moody

2. Dane Coles.

3. Owen Franks

4. Patrick Tuipulotu

5. Jerome Kaino

6. Liam Squire

7. Sam Cane

8. Kieran read

9. Aaron Smith

10. Beauden Barrett

11. Julian Savea

12. Ryan Crotty

13. George Moala

14. Waisake Naholo

15. Ben Smith  


16. Codie Taylor

17. Ofa Tu'ungafasi

18. Charlie Faumuina

19.Scott Barrett

20. Ardie Savea,

21. T.J. Perenara

22. Aaron Cruden

23.Malakai Fekitoa