Scott Barrett addresses captaincy ‘conversations’ as key All Blacks provide huge boost to New Zealand Rugby

Colin Newboult
Scott Barrett in action for the All Blacks during the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Scott Barrett in action for the All Blacks during the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Scott Barrett admits that he would be “open” to taking the captaincy after handing New Zealand Rugby (NZR) a huge boost ahead of the 2024 Test season.

The second-row will be sticking around until at least the end of the 2027 Rugby World Cup after signing a new deal with New Zealand Rugby.

It is a timely boost for the governing body given the controversy surrounding the past couple of weeks, with the organisation being described as ‘broken’ by great full-back Mils Muliaina.

Barrett has become a crucial cog for the All Blacks over the years and will take on even more responsibility following the departures of some key players.

That could include the captaincy, with the lock thought to be one of the frontrunners for the role alongside Ardie Savea.

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The 30-year-old may have the edge, however, given his connection to the national team’s new head coach. Barrett was part of the dynasty that Scott Robertson built at the Crusaders as they claimed seven successive Super Rugby titles.

“I guess that’s something I’d be open to, but my focus right now is to get back on the park, if I’m going to be honest,” the back five forward told reporters.

“It’d be a huge honour to do that, for whoever is in that position, I guess.

“Those decisions are fully on Razor. We’ve had conversations over the past five or six months around the All Black environment, and areas that are critical going forward.

“Ultimately, the decision sits with him.”

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Barrett joins fellow experienced Crusaders forward Codie Taylor in committing to NZR for the next few years.

Like the second-row, Taylor has signed a deal which will take him to the end of the World Cup in Australia.

Although both are on the wrong side of 30, the global tournament remains a significant target, especially for Barrett, who has yet to be part of a winning squad after disappointment in 2019 and 2023.

“That’s a huge driver of extending. There’s certainly a lot of pain for the last couple of World Cups, personally,” the second-row said.

“Scars, I guess, that probably won’t go away. That’s a big driver to give myself another opportunity to go to a World Cup – if I’m playing and performing well.

“That’s a big reason why I’ve extended, and a huge motivating factor for me.”

Injury issues

Barrett has spent most of the season on the sidelines, having played just five matches for the Crusaders in 2024.

He will not have any more chances to get back out on the field at Super Rugby level ahead of the Test season, given the Christchurch outfit’s surprising failure to reach the play-offs, but the lock appears confident that he will be ready for the England series in July.

“I’m tracking all right. I had a wee bulged disc in my back. That’s sort of settling down,” he said.

“If we did have a game this week, it’d be 50-50. I’m still getting a plan together for the next month of how I can get back to rugby.

“I’m super keen to get back and play, whether that’s club rugby, or facilitated trainings, I’m not too sure of the path.

“But I’m certainly keen to get out and play.”

READ MORE: Razor Watch: Crusaders ‘silver lining’, veteran delight and back-row depth