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Barrett captains All Blacks for the first time in European tour opener against the Barbarians

Jerome Kaino returns, while three players making their senior New Zealand debut will start on Saturday.

Barrett skippers a second-string side.
Barrett skippers a second-string side.
Image: David Davies

FLY-HALF BEAUDEN Barrett will captain the All Blacks for the first time and Jerome Kaino is back after personal problems in an experimental line-up to face the Barbarians on Saturday.

It will be the New Zealanders’ first match at Twickenham since beating Australia in the World Cup final two years ago.

As coach Steve Hansen builds his squad towards the next World Cup two years away, he named a largely second-string squad today to give them “valuable big-match experience” in what will be New Zealand’s opening match of their European tour.

Barrett, the 2016 World Player of the Year, is one of the few in the match-day 23 who would be considered a first-choice selection in a more critical clash.

He will become the All Blacks’ 132nd captain, with regular skipper Kieran Read sitting out the game.

Kaino fills Read’s number eight role in his first match for the All Blacks since he left the side when details of an extra-marital affair became public on the eve of the Rugby Championship opener against Australia in August.

Wing Seta Tamanivalu, whose standout year for Super Rugby champions Canterbury Crusaders has kept Julian Savea — who will be playing for the Barbarians — out of the touring squad, returns for his first international in more than a year.

Prop Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen is on the bench four years after his sole previous All Blacks game.

The replacements also include new All Blacks in hooker Asafo Aumua, prop Tim Perry and outside back Matt Duffie, a former rugby league international.

Not only is it a special occasion for the team, it’ll also be a particularly special day for Beauden, as well as the three new All Blacks Asafo, Tim and Matt, who will be pulling on the All Blacks jersey for the first time,” Hansen said.

“It’s very rare that we get the chance to play a non-Test match in the modern era and it’s given us the chance to give our full squad an opportunity to stake claims for future matches and gain valuable big-match experience.”

David Havili gets his first start at fullback while centres Anton Lienert-Brown and Ngani Laumape are paired for the first time.

The senior lock on tour, Sam Whitelock, is being rested with Scott Barrett and Luke Romano starting in the second row.

The All Blacks have played the Barbarians 10 times for seven wins, a draw and two losses including a 25-18 defeat the last time they met in 2009.

The Barbarians also announced their side today.

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Savea was on the right wing, meaning he will be up against an All Blacks side that includes his younger brother Ardie.

Barbarians coach and former All Blacks number 15 Robbie Deans, previously in charge of both the Canterbury Crusaders and the Australia national side, selected 10 New Zealanders in his starting XV.

Luke Whitelock, Sam’s brother, starts at No 8 in a side captained by 2011 World Cup-winner Andy Ellis.

Barbarians (15-1): George Bridge; Julian Savea; Richard Buckman, Harold Vorster, Vince Aso; Richie Mo’unga, Andy Ellis (capt); Luke Whitelock, Kwagga Smith, Steven Luatua; Dominic Bird, Sam Carter; Atu Moli, Adriaan Strauss, Jacques van Rooyen

Replacements: Akker van der Merwe, Ben Franks, Ruan Smith, Willie Britz, Ruan Ackermann, Mitchell Drummond, Robert du Preez, Dillon Hunt

New Zealand (15-1): David Havili; Waisake Naholo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape, Seta Tamanivalu; Beauden Barrett (capt), TJ Perenara; Jerome Kaino, Ardie Savea, Vaea Fifita; Scott Barrett, Luke Romano; Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Nathan Harris, Kane Hames.

Replacements: Asafo Aumua, Tim Perry, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Lima Sopoaga, Matt Duffie

© – AFP 2017

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