Kieran Read insists that Ardie Savea’s ‘shyness’ will benefit Scott Barrett in All Blacks captaincy debate

David Skippers
Kieran Read Scott Barrett and Ardie Savea image.jpg

Former New Zealand skipper Kieran Read and the frontrunners for the All Blacks' captaincy under head coach Scott Robertson, Scott Barrett and Ardie Savea.

Former New Zealand skipper Kieran Read has given his backing to Scott Barrett to take over the All Blacks’ captaincy from Sam Cane, who ruled himself out of contention for the leadership role.

Cane is still available for All Blacks selection but ruled himself out of the captaincy after announcing that he will retire from international rugby at the end of this season to take up a three-year contract with his Japanese club, Suntory Sungoliath.

Barrett and Ardie Savea, who has previous experience of skippering his country at Test level, have emerged as the leading contenders to replace Cane in the leadership role but Read believes the latter’s bashful demeanour could count against him.

‘It’s an interesting call’

“I know in the past, Ardie has probably been a bit shy from it, it doesn’t sit on his shoulders as well as a few others have,” Read told Newstalk ZB. “It’s an interesting call.

“Experience helps too, having those times when you have captained. He’s someone who’s obviously not been in New Zealand this year. I don’t know if that counts against him or not.

“The experience is there, definitely at the top level.”

Read, who captained the All Blacks in 52 of his 127 Tests, said although Savea would still be a good choice to lead the three-time world champions, Barrett’s relationship with All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson and the success they gained during their time as captain and head coach at the Crusaders gives him an edge.

“It’s a tough one, both have great attributes,” the former captain said. “Scooter’s [Barrett] done it for a while with the Crusaders and been pretty successful.

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“Ardie, I think, in terms of his ability to inspire and get players to follow him is pretty impressive in the All Blacks jersey.

“There’s a couple of pretty awesome options… It’s a hard call, I think potentially Scott Barrett if I’m thinking of someone, because of where he’s at.

“He’s led a lot of teams, and the relationship with Razor probably leans it to him.

“But Ardie would be fantastic, right? He’s an amazing player and a great leader in his own way.”

Crusaders’ success will help Barrett

Barrett was the Crusaders’ captain when they lifted three of the seven Super Rugby titles under Robertson’s guidance and Read believes the success they gained together at club level will count in his favour.

“Knowing Scooter, what he’s like, and what he’s going to bring to the team, it’s an advantage for those two guys to work together,” Read said.

“Scooter’s a world-class player, he’s going to be starting every game, that’s a prerequisite as well.

“Maybe Barrett does have the inside edge. The captain is one guy, but it’s the guys around him like Ardie and the others that will make his job easier, whoever it is.”

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