Home Sport Barrett named skipper as All Blacks begin Robertson era

Barrett named skipper as All Blacks begin Robertson era

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Lock Scott Barrett will have his centre brother Jordie and reigning World Player of the Year Ardie Savea to support him as vice-captains when New Zealand take on England in Dunedin and Auckland and the Fijians in San Diego.

New Zealand Rugby captain Scott Barrett (right) looks on after the New Zealand rugby international Test squad announcement at the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre in Christchurch on June 24, 2024. Picture: Sanka Vidanagama, AFP

NEW ZEALAND coach Scott Robertson named Scott Barrett as captain for Tests against England and Fiji in July and included five uncapped players in his first All Blacks squad since taking over from Ian Foster.

Lock Barrett will have his centre brother Jordie and reigning World Player of the Year Ardie Savea to support him as vice-captains when New Zealand take on England in Dunedin and Auckland and the Fijians in San Diego.

“There are some great leaders in our group, but having that existing connection to Scott was important,” said Robertson, who coached Barrett for seven years at the Canterbury Crusaders.

“He’s tactically astute, leads from the front, and has the respect of the players and coaches.”

Barrett is a certain starter for New Zealand but there was a question mark over his disciplinary record as he is the only All Black to have been sent off twice in Tests.

“When you think of the leaders who have gone before you, it’s quite humbling to be asked to captain the All Blacks, so it’s not something I took lightly,” the 30-year-old said.

Wallace Sititi earned the opportunity to win his first cap with a breakout season for the Waikato Chiefs but there was no place for fellow number eight Hoskins Sotutu, who had an outstanding season for the Auckland Blues.

Injuries to Cam Roigard and Samisoni Taukei’aho have created opportunities for Cortez Ratima and George Bell to get into the squad at scrumhalf and hooker respectively, while prop Pasilio Tosi was perhaps the most surprising rookie selection.

Centre Billy Proctor was the fifth uncapped player named. His Wellington Hurricanes teammate Ruben Love, one of the standouts of Super Rugby at fullback, will join the 32-man squad only as injury cover.

Damian McKenzie and the third Barrett brother, Beauden, will vie for the flyhalf position left vacant by Richie Mo’unga’s departure for Japan.

Stephen Perofeta was the only specialist fullback included, but whichever of McKenzie or Beauden Barrett misses out on the flyhalf slot is likely to fill the number 15 shirt.

Scrumhalf TJ Perenara and lock Patrick Tuipulotu both return to the squad after missing the World Cup campaign in France through injury.

Previous captain Sam Cane was not considered because of injury, the team said, suggesting the flanker might play later this year despite saying he would be quit Test rugby at the end of the season.

“As a coaching group, we are excited about the squad we’ve selected,” Roberston said. “We know it’s a group that can play the style of rugby we want the All Blacks to play in 2024.”

New Zealand Squad

Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Codie Taylor, George Bell, Ethan De Groot, Tyrel Lomax, Fletcher Newell, Pasilio Tosi, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Tamaiti Williams, Scott Barrett, Tupou Vaa’i, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ethan Blackadder, Samipeni Finau, Luke Jacobson, Dalton Papali’i, Ardie Savea, Wallace Sititi;

Backs: Finlay Christie, TJ Perenara, Cortez Ratima, Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Billy Proctor, Caleb Clarke, Emoni Narawa, Stephen Perofeta, Sevu Reece, Mark Tele’a

Reuters

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