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VIDEO: Robertson reveals Beauden Barrett's response to bench role

REACTION: New All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson said that star playmaker Beauden Barrett took being named on the bench for the first Test against England “like a pro”.


Damian McKenzie was preferred at flyhalf for Saturday’s first of the two-Test series in Dunedin after Barrett spent most of 2024 playing in Japan.

Robertson opted for Stephen Perofeta to win his fourth cap at fullback after he was part of the Blues Super Rugby winning side last month.

The side will be captained for the first time by Beauden’s younger brother, lock forward Scott Barrett, who hasn’t played a game for two months because of a back injury.

Robertson named eight starting players who took the field for New Zealand’s most recent Test, the 11-12 World Cup Final defeat to South Africa in Paris last October.

Beauden Barrett started at fullback on that occasion.

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“He took it like a true pro, whatever’s required for this week,” Robertson said of Barrett’s reaction to being dropped to the replacements.

“Obviously the experience of 123 Test matches counts for a lot, but also there’s a guy [Perofeta] who was in form just two weeks ago in a Test match-level game in a final.

“And Beauden can play his part, covering No.10 and No.15.”

McKenzie will partner scrum-half TJ Perenara, who returns to the All Blacks for the first time since rupturing his Achilles tendon in late 2022 in the drawn Test against England at Twickenham, the last time the teams met.


Perenara and Perofeta are among four starting players who did not play a Test last year, along with wing Sevu Reece and lock Patrick Tuipulotu.

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Chiefs flanker Samipeni Finau won a contentious battle for the blindside flanker berth. The hard-hitting loose forward joins Ardie Savea and Dalton Papali’i in the back row.

Robertson left out all of the squad’s five uncapped players from the matchday 23.

New Zealand supporters are hoping Robertson can rejuvenate an All Blacks side whose form wavered for four years under his predecessor Ian Foster.

Robertson said he had received a text message from former All Black coach Graham Henry.

“He said ‘all the best’.

“That was a nice little touch from him and he had a hell of a career didn’t he?” Robertson said of Henry, whose tenure ended with a World Cup triumph on home soil in 2011.

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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