A rare piece of rugby history could be made at Soldier Field on Saturday with New Zealand fielding two sets of brothers at once for the first time in more than half a century.
All Black fly-half Beauden Barrett could be joined by younger brother Scott while wing Julian Savea may be united with sibling Ardie when New Zealand take on Ireland.
Not since All Black legends Don Clarke and Colin Meads lined up alongside their respective brothers, Ian and Stan, in 1961 have New Zealand featured multiple siblings at the same time.
Beauden Barrett, who will earn his 47th cap against the Irish, is relishing the prospect of playing his first ever game alongside brother Scott, the Crusaders lock who starts amongst the replacements.
“It’s unbelievable. Pretty proud obviously,” Barrett said.
“Hopefully we’ll both get the opportunity to be out there at the same time. It will be the first time I’ve ever played on the same team as Scott.”
In fact, there may ultimately come a time when a third Barrett brother enters the All Blacks reckoning. Jordie Barrett, 19, is travelling with the squad to garner development experience.
“He was very nervous on his first day. It’s quite daunting for him, and no doubt it still is, but he’s got nothing to prove,” Beauden Barrett said of Jordie, a 6ft 5in (1.96m) center who starred for New Zealand in the World Under-20 Championship earlier this year.
Scott Barrett is almost certain to feature at some point on Saturday, with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen indicating his desire to make full use of his replacements.
Meanwhile, wing Julian Savea could mark his 50th cap alongside Hurricanes loose forward and younger brother Ardie, who earns his ninth cap on the bench.
“I didn’t really think about that but it’s a special moment,” Savea said. “Not only for us, but for the Barretts too. Beaudy has his brother (Scott) in there and Jordie is part of the tour too.
“No doubt he’s feeling the sort of pride I felt.”
© 2016 AFP