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All Blacks assistant addresses Scott Barrett's captaincy concerns and credentials

By Ned Lester
Scott Barrett of the All Blacks receives a yellow card. Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images

Scott Barrett’s selection as All Blacks captain got the rugby sphere rumbling this week, with debates over Ardie Savea’s case for the prized leadership role and one common criticism over Sam Cane’s successor.

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Discipline. That is the word haunting Barrett’s promotion, as the 30-year-old’s history of yellow and red cards in the black jersey causes concerns over the reliability of the face of the next era of All Blacks rugby.

It’s one of the most demanding roles in rugby, but the man known as Scooter is well up to the task according to his former Crusaders colleagues.

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Former Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall endorsed Barrett’s captaincy credentials this week, saying he fits the bill thanks to his growth as Crusaders captain over the years, his status as a premier lock in the world and his game IQ, which has evolved under heavily engaged mentorship from Sam Whitelock and the coaching staff.

One of those coaches is Scott Hansen, the former Crusaders intellect and new All Blacks defence coach, who added to Hall’s assessment with some further insight.

“The other thing with Scooter is, how often did you see him next to his 10 talking about the game and what it looks like tactically? How often did you see Scooter under the sticks, talking about what it’s going to look like next and how we have to play? He’s very astute around that,” Hansen explained on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.

“He’s a man the country can believe in and follow, and we’re really excited to have Scooter lead this team.

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“And then, the other side of that is the relationship he has with the boss, with Razor. It’s tight, it’s connected, they can be really honest with each other quickly, and that’s a really important relationship in any Test environment.

“They’re able to have great conversations around what’s best for the team. They’re open-minded, they’re transparent, that’s what Scooter is, he asks questions around the game.

“He has the ability to talk to the defence coach and the attack coach and seek clarity on what it means for the game and for the team. He simplifies things. He’s got a great ability to (have the team) look at him and follow him.

“If you’re running around the rugby field and you want to know where your captain is, with Scooter, you look forward, because he’s in front of you.

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“I’ll layer in there, you’ve got Ardie (Savea) and Jordie (Barrett) there supporting him, and you’ve got a Codie Taylor and all those people supporting him.

“The All Black captaincy is a massive honour and a massive role, you need all these people standing beside you, supporting you, and taking care of all these elements of the game.

“What does that look like? Attacking-wise, we’ll have our strategy group. Defensively, we’ll have our leaders. They’ll run that for Scooter, they’ll take care of a lot of things and Scooter needs to be able to turn to his lieutenants and say ‘take care of things for me’, and he has the ability to do that well.”

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As for the discipline concerns, Hansen doesn’t shy away from the fact it has been an issue in the past, but is confident it will remain in the rearview.

“There’s an understanding of that and what that is. What you look at also is growth, you look at the struggle that he’s been through with it, you look at where he’s evolved his game around that and you watch him recently in his Test match performances around his tackle height and there’s quality there.

“So, he’s had some tough lessons. He’s going to be challenged always around what that looks like, like all the boys will.

“You’ve got to give him the grace around what have you learned? You’ve reflected on it and we have to go forward.”

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Comments

4 Comments
T
Tristan 27 days ago

I remember thinking that Sean Fitzpatrick was too hot headed to be an effective AB captain. He did OK and matured hugely with the responsibility of the role.

G
Graham 28 days ago

Scott Barrett is the right man as All Black captain. He is growing as a leader too. Great playerBring baclkScooter

D
David 28 days ago

Hoskins and Akira's faces don’t fit. The selection of apprentice Sititi has closed the door, gifting Ardie, who played overseas, the No 8 job. They clearly value him more than the two Blues who were so dominant during Super. But, say some, Akira is heading overseas. Didn’t stop Razor trying to get players back already overseas. Rules / goalposts move seamlessly when Razor asks.

Foster would have loved that sort of support, instead he was thawted and back stabbed, had coaches foisted upon him and they tried to remove him in SA. What a surprise; the ABs played one of their very best games in SA. Next day the players backed Foster not Razor - including the leading Crusaders. So much for the so-called players’ love of Razor! Rugby politics.

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