Scott Robertson on picking Scott Barrett as All Blacks captain: ‘He’s very well respected’

The worst kept secret in NZ Rugby has been confirmed with new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson naming Scott Barrett as the new All Blacks captain.

Robertson’s first squad of the year also includes five debutants, some surprise selections and a couple of big omissions.

The man many call “Razor” was expected to name lock Barrett as skipper with the pair having won seven super rugby titles together at the Crusaders.

Read more:

Robertson believes Barrett is a leader the players will follow.

“He’s highly regarded by the refs. He’s very well respected. He’s our lineout caller. He’s just got a real good feel for the game to make the right calls at the right time.

“He’s won a lot of big games and big moments and he’s done that in the All Blacks jersey, too. He’s also risen to the occasion and I know he’ll do it as captain.”

Robertson said the new skipper took some time before accepting the role, and Barrett said his reticence was due to his respect for the role.

“Just the enormity of the job, I guess. It’s a job that’s probably going to require every little bit of me. I’m hugely honoured and want to be able to give this job my all.”

Robertson has selected five debutants in the squad to take on England in a two-test series at home, starting next weekend in Dunedin, and a one-off test against Fiji in San Diego later next month.

Two of those players, Hurricanes prop Pasilio Tosi and Chiefs loose forward Wallace Sititi could be considered genuine bolters, though Robertson said Tosi has been on his radar for a while.

“We realised he could start games and he could finish. He’s a great technical scrummer, he’s a big man and he’s strong.

“An ex No.8, he’s got good feet and he ticked everything that we required.”

Pasilio Tosi of the Hurricanes dives over to score a try during the Super Rugby Pacific Quarter Final - Hurricanes v Rebels at Sky Stadium.

Tosi said it was a surreal moment when Robertson rang to give him the news.

“I’d just woken up with my kids. Still in my jocks. And normally they’re (his children) a bit mellow at that time but one decided to throw a tantrum so I was trying to hold him,” Tosi said.

“Then a random phone call came through and it was Ray (Robertson) and I was like ‘yes, I’ve made the team’.

“Normally I’m not one to answer calls from unknown numbers, but when we got told at the pre-camp ‘you’ll be getting a call on Monday if you made it or not’, I was just on edge all weekend.

“It’s a feeling I can’t really put into words, but I’m excited to learn and hopefully during the season I’ll be able to pull on that jersey and do everyone proud.”

The other uncapped players are the Chiefs halfback Cortez Ratima, Crusaders hooker George Bell and Hurricanes midfielder Billy Proctor.

Hurricanes centre Billy Proctor on the charge.

Jordie Barrett, who was named vice captain alongside Ardie Savea, believes Proctor has a skill set similar to former All Blacks midfielder Conrad Smith.

“Some guys have put him in the same breath as they way Conrad used to play. Billy is so busy, he’s so tough but he’s also so athletic as well. He was a sprinting champion at St Pat’s Town (St Patrick’s College in Wellington) when he was younger, so there’s some talent there.”

Some serious talent has been left out of the squad such as the Crusaders 27-test utility back David Havili and star Blues No.8 Hoskins Sotutu, with the latter overlooked in favour of the likes of Wallace Sititi.

Hoskins Sotutu of the Blues scores a try.

Sotutu was the joint leading try-scorer in Super Pacific this season and was instrumental in the Blues run to their first title in 21 years, which they snared by dominating Sititi’s Chiefs 41-10 in last weekend’s final.

Roberston said omitting Sotutu was not easy.

“That was the toughest call.

“I thought hard and deep and challenged myself and looked at all the reasons why I pick players and that’s where we fell.

“We believe Wallace is an incredible young talent.”

Wallace Sititi shifts the ball on.

Robertson is wary of flooding the squad with too much information as he tries to stamp his mark on the team and implement the culture he thinks will lead to World Cup success in 2027.

However, he is confident he can strike the right balance and open his tenure as All Blacks coach with victory over England next weekend in Dunedin.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button