Rugby

Barrett to lead All Blacks during BaaBaas build-up

2017-10-30 08:47
Beauden Barrett (Getty)
Wellington - All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett will be fulfilling Kieran Read's captaincy duties ahead of Saturday's clash with the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Read, who is set to join the world champions' touring party during the second week of their end-of-year tour to Europe, had spoken with the team before they left New Zealand on Friday and laid out his expectations and Barrett as a vice-captain will lead that during the week whether he would be playing against the Barbarians or not, coach Steve Hansen said after the team's arrival at their London base.

Hansen said they would be treating the Barbarians game like a Test and it was a chance for those players who had not played too much Test rugby to pull on the jersey and make a statement.

"They won't lack for motivation and so long we, as management, facilitate a week that allows them to express themselves I think you'll find that they prepare well," he told the All Blacks' official website.

A win mattered a lot because the All Blacks always wanted to win but Hansen said the performance would be just as important.

"If we perform well, and play well, then we've got away to a good start," he added.

"One of the aims of this tour is to play rugby we're proud of and part of that is winning but we've also got to keep re-establishing the process of how we do that. It's the first one [game], so it's a great opportunity to get the ball rolling."

If Barrett was to be named captain nothing much would change for him. As fly-half, he was the driver of the side.

"He's got the number 10 on his back which is the main computer in a team, they tend to touch the ball more than anybody else and make more decisions than anybody else, instead of talking to Reado he'll just talk to himself," said Hansen.

The coach also reacted to comments made by former All Blacks Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens about the lack of support for Ben Smith playing for the Olympic Sevens side.

Hansen said he did ask Tietjens why Smith needed to play four tournaments before the Olympics? 

"I thought he could have played one or none, he's that good a player," he explained.

"If you really want him and that's the only way you're going to get him because he doesn't want to leave his franchise rugby. So that's what we tried to explain to him, he made the choice himself.

"So I'm not sure why he's saying there's no leadership, the leadership falls on his head: Do you want Ben Smith to play for you and the conditions of him playing, coming from Ben Smith, nobody else. 'I don't want to go and play four tournaments. If he wants me I'm available, pick me, but I'm not playing four tournaments because I want to play for the Highlanders'.

"When he heard that, he made a decision and it's his decision to make, no-one else interfered with that decision. He made it."

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