Barrett brothers to make history against France

by AAP

Seemingly forgiven for his bizarre late-night indiscretion, Jordie Barrett will make history after being named fullback for the All Blacks' first Test against France.

In the only real surprise selection for Saturday's opening Test of the year at Eden Park, Barrett pushes veteran fullback Ben Smith to the wing, leaving no room for Waisake Naholo.

It means three siblings will be in New Zealand's starting team for the first time, with five-eighth Beauden Barrett and lock Scott Barrett also named.

The trio were previously on the field as team-mates for the final three minutes of last year's drawn third Test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland.

That was Jordie Barrett's second and most recent Test cap, having been forced to subsequently begin seven months on the sideline following shoulder injury.

The brilliant youngster's selection comes a week after his involvement in an incident Dunedin following his Hurricanes team's loss to the Highlanders.

Jordie Barrett will have his first crack at the Lions. Photo: Getty ImagesBarrett and a friend inadvertently let themselves into a stranger's house at 5am - believing they knew the residents - and had to ultimately explain themselves to police.

Barrett later described the incident as an innocent mistake although coach Steve Hansen said he planned to admonish the 21-year-old for a lack of professionalism.

Smith, who turned 32 last week, will be the oldest starting winger in All Blacks Test history.

It is his first Test appearance in 10 months, having been granted a sabbatical over the second half of last year.

Elsewhere, Ryan Crotty moves in one spot to inside centre to cover the injury absence of Sonny Bill Williams, with Anton Lienert-Brown employed at outside centre.

Scott Barrett makes his fifth start at lock in place of the injured Brodie Retallick, packing down alongside skipper Sam Whitelock.

They are part of an all-Crusaders tight five which includes under-used pair Owen Franks and Joe Moody.

Neither of the seasoned props has played a Test in nine months and they tally just six Super Rugby games between them this year because of injury and suspension.

Luke Whitelock starts at No.8 in place of injured regular skipper Kieran Read, as he did in the final Test of 2017 against Wales in Cardiff.

On the bench, prop Karl Tu'inukuafe is poised to make a Test debut, capping a remarkable rise after only earning his first Super Rugby contract at the Chiefs two months ago following a spate of injuries.

The All Blacks play France in a three-Test June Series, kicking off on June 9 at Eden Park, Auckland.


New Zealand to play France

1. Joe Moody

2. Codie Taylor

3. Owen Franks

4. Sam Whitelock

5. Scott Barrett

6. Liam Squire

7. Sam Cane

8. Luke Whitelock

9. Aaron Smith

10. Beauden Barrett

11. Rieko Ioane

12. Ryan Crotty

13. Anton Lienert-Brown

14. Ben Smith

15. Jordie Barrett


16. Nathan Harris

17. Karl Tu'inukuafe

18. Ofa Tu'ungafasi

19. Vaea Fifita

20. Ardie Savea

21. TJ Perenara

22. Damian McKenzie

23. Ngani Laumape.