Bar­rett: Play­ing against Eng­land’s Shields will be ‘weird’

The Southland Times - - Sport -

Fix an eye on Brad Shields as he watches the All Blacks per­form the haka to­mor­row morn­ing.

Be­cause if Steve Hansen is on the money, for­mer Hur­ri­canes cap­tain Shields, who will start at No 6 for Eng­land in Lon­don, could have trou­ble con­trol­ling his emo­tions as he silently stands and ob­serves the men in black lin­ing up against him at Twick­en­ham.

All Blacks coach Hansen drew on his own ex­pe­ri­ences as he ex­plained what it was like to try and send your own coun­try­men down the plug­hole in a test match.

Hansen coached against the All Blacks when he was in charge of Wales in the early 2000s, and later, when he re­turned to New Zea­land to work with the All Blacks, he then had to plot the down­fall of Wales.

‘‘He is go­ing to be lin­ing up fac­ing the haka, fac­ing the team that he has al­ways wanted to play for and un­for­tu­nately we didn’t pick him . . . now he has got the op­por­tu­nity to play against them,’’ Hansen said. ‘‘Some of his great mates are in that team. I think he will find that emo­tional.’’

Grow­ing up in New Zea­land Shields dreamed of rep­re­sent­ing the All Blacks, and was good enough to be picked for the na­tional un­der-20 side.

But he thought he wasn’t go­ing to crack the test team and elected to align him­self with Eng­land af­ter sign­ing with pre­mier­ship club Wasps. The fact par­ents Nigel and Danielle are English – they moved to New Zea­land be­fore Brad was born – meant he was el­i­gi­ble to wear the red rose.

Now Shields will be try­ing to bowl his for­mer Hur­ri­canes team­mates Beau­den Bar­rett and Ardie Savea from the kick-off, along with re­serves Dane Coles and TJ Per­e­nara who will take the field in the sec­ond half.

‘‘I don’t know how I feel about it,’’ Bar­rett ex­plained. ‘‘It is go­ing to be weird. Hope­fully I don’t see him out there too much, be­cause he is a big brute and he will prob­a­bly try and line me up.’’

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