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Childhood dreams playing out in Japan for New Zealand's Barretts

Childhood dreams playing out in Japan for New Zealand's Barretts
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By Greg Stutchbury

OITA, Japan (Reuters) – Scott Barrett is having to pinch himself and it really has nothing to do with the amount of interest that older brother Beauden is getting from locals at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Lock Scott, flyhalf Beauden and utility back Jordie are the first trio of brothers to appear for New Zealand in the same test match, having achieved the feat against Samoa in 2017.

They are also the first trio of brothers to be included in an All Blacks World Cup squad.

Scott said that while growing up on the family farm in coastal Taranaki on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, the scenario had played out several times in their own backyard games.

“I never really thought we would be here,” Scott said on Wednesday in Oita, where they have begun preparations for their Oct. 2 clash with Canada. “In the backyard, you would sort of joke and say, ‘he’s got a kick to win it – the World Cup.’

“You’d create scenarios like that. You’d joke about it – and you pinch yourself that we’re here right now.”

While talent-rich New Zealand makes it exceptionally difficult to advance to the All Blacks, in reality performing on the big stage has been on the cards for a long time.

Their father Kevin, a Taranaki provincial stalwart who played for the Wellington Hurricanes in the early days of Super Rugby, famously announced his retirement from rugby and said he was “going home to breed some All Blacks”.

All three have said previously they got their work ethic from their father and their talent from mother Robyn, who excelled at athletics, basketball and netball.

BEAUDENMANIA

A two-time World Player of the Year, Beauden is the most well known of the trio and has an endorsement deal with a Japanese electronics manufacturer.

He has consequently been mobbed by eager local rugby fans during the tournament and Jordie said the experience had been a little surprising at first.

“Yesterday, we turned up at the airport and they were all screaming Beauden’s name and Scott and I were looking at each other thinking, ‘What’s going on?’,” he said.

“But I think it’s pretty cool. Everyone in the team knows he’s got a bit of expectation around him and the hype’s good.”

While the trio have two other brothers — one of whom Kane played professional rugby with the Auckland Blues but had to retire due to concussion — and three sisters, they still enjoyed spending time with each other on tour.

“As siblings as you grow older, I guess you sort of go your own ways,” Beauden said. “But it’s an awesome time for us to connect on tour all together.”

They were, however, yet to share a room in Japan and Scott thought that might actually be good, given his personal habits.

“Beauden’s really tidy, I’m probably a wee bit messy,” Scott said of his attitude to room cleaning.

“I let it run, just go with the flow, but these two are probably prim and proper.”

(Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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