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All Blacks greats hail Scott Barrett's appointment as ‘perfect’ captaincy call

By Finn Morton
All Blacks captain Scott Barrett poses for a photo with All Blacks coach Scott Robertson during the New Zealand All Blacks International Test Squad Announcement at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre on June 24, 2024 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

All Blacks legends Jeff Wilson and Sir John Kirwan have praised the appointment of Crusaders lock Scott Barrett as the new captain of the national team. Barrett will lead the All Blacks as they usher in a new era under head coach Scott Robertson.

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On the 12th of May, it was revealed that long-serving skipper Sam Cane would step away from international rugby at the end of the 2024 season. The 95-Test veteran also offered to support the team’s next captain as he reflected on the “honour” to serve in the role.

That announcement kicked off a fair bit of discussion within New Zealand rugby circles as fans began to speculate on who would succeed Cane. Blues flanker Dalton Papali’i backed Ardie Savea to take over the captaincy and it seemed most supporters agreed with that.

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But with the All Blacks unveiling their first squad of the year on Monday evening in Christchurch, all of the opinionated discussion and theorising about the captaincy would come to a close. Coach ‘Razor’ Robertson confirmed Scott Barrett would lead the All Blacks.

There’s been some criticism, including a Tweet/X post from former All Blacks first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga who wanted Savea to “get his well overdue flowers” by being named skipper, but others have been more than supportive of captain Barrett.

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“There’s no surprises there. Look, he’s a guy who’s always, when he’s out on the pitch, he’s performed at a high level,” former All Blacks wing Jeff Wilson said on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown shortly after the announcement.

“He had some discipline issues over a few years but that’s because of how hard he plays and that’s what he does every time, whatever jersey he pulls on, it’s always front and centre and I thought he was world-class at last year’s Rugby World Cup.

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“He does lead by example in terms of his effort and this is just something, a continuation of the good work he’s done down in Christchurch with the Crusaders.

“He’s played 69 Tests, he knows what it’s all about now, and don’t forget – he’ll have a large group of guys around him. They always have this leadership group… that will support him in his job.”

Barrett has long been touted as one of the favourites to eventually take over the captaincy considering the relationship the Crusaders lock has with new All Blacks coach Robertson. The pair won seven Super Rugby titles together, including some with Barrett as skipper.

But this is still a big call for Robertson to make. Barrett has had some disciplinary issues in the past as Jeff Wilson touched on, and the New Zealanders have named a squad that definitely has a different feel to it.

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Aaron Smith, Sam Whitelock and Richie Mo’unga are no longer available to don the black jersey and that leaves a leadership hole that needs to be filled. Without offering an opinion on the appointment, Mils Muliaina did highlight the need for Barrett to help bring the group together.

After that comment, and with Jordie Barrett and Ardie Savea set to serve as vice-captains, fellow panellist Sir John Kirwan hailed Scott Barrett as the “perfect choice.”

“I think it’s an amazing choice,” Kirwan explained.

“Love him as a player. He’s not an exuberant type of guy, he’ll want to lead from the front.

“But you’ve got Codie Taylor with 85 Tests, you’re look at his two brothers, obviously, with Jordie [and Beauden]. You’ve got Ardie [Savea].

“Anton Lienert-Brown, there’s enough of those guys that have been there long enough to help him.”

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Comments

5 Comments
s
steve 24 days ago

The only logic I can see is that Razor has shown he’s a Canterbury coach rather then a All Black coach. I don’t see how else to put it when Ardie was V.C then took over Captaincy while Cane was injured and did great, obviously because he was world player of the year. The only thing he can be faulted for is he’s not a Crusader like Razor. I’ve lost all respect for the clown.

D
David 25 days ago

Surprised they didn't go for the trifecta of Barretts. Think of the headlines.

T
Thomas 25 days ago

classic Lima being a whiny little b*tch

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