New baby Billie Rose Barrett bears some responsibility for her father’s absence from the first Bledisloe Cup rugby test in Wellington.
Barrett returns to the All Blacks team for the second clash against the Wallabies in Auckland on Sunday after better management of his achilles tendon injury.
Some of that management is to do with Barrett’s role as a new dad, said coach Ian Foster.
“We’re just getting the formula now for how we use him during the week,” Foster said.
“The injury flared up at a time of the week we didn’t expect.
“But he’d had some disruptive weeks with the baby so this week has been great.
“Once he gets into a regular week we can manage his load and get him performing on the weekend.”
Barrett and wife Hannah welcomed Billie Rose into the world just three weeks ago and Barrett said balancing the life-changing impact of a new-born against All Blacks’ training was a tough act.
“I’m loving fatherhood – it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” the 29-year-old said.
“I’ve been managing time at home and time in the hotel and getting that balance is important this week as I certainly get a kick out of going home and seeing little Billie.”
He was confident his injury wouldn’t trouble him this week or through the rest of the series in Australia.
“I had it the start of the Rugby World Cup last year and by the end of the World Cup it felt great.
“It’s about trusting the medical team plan and I’m fully confident they’ll get me where I need to be.”
Asked if had noticed anything from the sideline last week that the All Blacks could learn from, Barrett pointed out the direct running close to the ruck and the gains made by Wallabies halfback Nic White.
“Usually we go into a game having seen some games in the June series so there was a bit of that unknown.
“What we did see was some pretty direct running off No 9 and Nic White running as well, but there  ;weren’t too many surprises.”
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