Savea brothers prepare to go head-to-head

by AAP

Ardie Savea won't mind if he's known as the Bus Stop after going head to head with older brother Julian at Twickenham.

The dynamic siblings are on opposite sides of a rugby field for the first time in Saturday's tour opener between the All Blacks and Barbarians.

Tryscoring machine Julian is the big name in the invitation side.

Ten Kiwis, including five who have represented the All Blacks, are in the starting line up. Another three are on the bench.

There are four South Africans in the starting side and another five among the reserves while starting lock Sam Carter is the lone Australian.

Kiwi Andy Ellis will captain the Baabaas. Photo: Getty ImagesNot a single European is in the side, with Italian flanker Simone Favaro having been omitted.

Andy Ellis will captain the side from halfback, linking with his former Crusaders team-mate, the in-form first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga.

Another Crusader, winger George Bridge, has been named out of position at fullback while Richard Buckman (Highlanders) and Vince Aso (Hurricanes) are rewarded for strong seasons.

Two former All Blacks loose forwards, Luke Whitelock and Steven Luatua, are in the starting pack, along with Chiefs tight forwards Dominic Bird and Atu Moli.

46-Test try All Black known as "The Bus", Julian, spoke this week of a desire to prove a point after missing most of the world champions' Tests in 2017.

Ardie gets a rare start on the All Blacks openside flank and expects there will be a familiar figure coming his way.

"He's pretty pumped so hopefully he doesn't run down my channel," younger brother said.

"Off set piece the wingers come full steaming at you. So it's either me or TJ (Perenara) who makes the tackle."

Jerome Kaino (left) has been shifted into the second row. Photo: Getty ImagesAny hope Julian might treat the game as a festive outing was dispelled when the brothers met on their day off on Wednesday.

A simple exchange was enough.

"I didn't really ask him. I just knew, just by talking to him that he's ready to go this week," Ardie said.

"At the same time, we're ready as well.

"I said to him, 'we're brothers off the field but when we come together, it's going to be a different story'."

Julian's compelling efforts and successful stint as captain during Wellington's dominant NPC season didn't go unnoticed by Ardie.

He says it was obvious his brother would be knocking loudly on the international door next year, looking to add to his 46 tries in 54 Tests.

"He could have dropped it and had a sulk but he's fighting hard and he's working hard. Most of all, he's having fun," Ardie said.

"You're seeing him running over guys again. Hopefully he doesn't do that to us this week."


Barbarians to take on the All Blacks

1 Jacques van Rooyen (Lions) 

2 Adriaan Strauss (Bulls & South Africa, vice captain)

3 Atu Moli (Chiefs)

4 Sam Carter (Brumbies & Australia)

5 Dominic Bird (Chiefs & New Zealand)

6 Steven Luatua (Bristol & New Zealand)

7 Kwagga Smith (Lions)

8 Luke Whitelock (Highlanders & New Zealand, vice captain)

9 Andy Ellis (Kobelco Steelers & New Zealand, captain)

10 Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders)

11 Vince Aso (Hurricanes)

12 Harold Vorster (Lions)

13 Richard Buckman (Highlanders)

14 Julian Savea (Hurricanes & New Zealand)

15 George Bridge (Crusaders)


16 Akker van der Merwe (Lions)

17 Ben Franks (London Irish & New Zealand)

18 Ruan Smith (Toyota Verblitz) 

19 Willie Britz (Sunwolves)

20 Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester)

21 Mitchell Drummond (Crusaders)

22 Robert du Preez (Stormers)

23 Dillon Hunt (Highlanders)