Vice Captain Beauden Barrett has buried any suggestions that will feed the All Blacks the bad blood between administrators for Bledisloe III in Perth on Sunday night.
With the Bledisloe Cup already in the vault at NZ Rugby HQ, the All Blacks won’t be fighting over silverware against the Wallabies at Optus Stadium and that in turn means finding other ways to get their hearts pumping.
The fact that the game is a dead rubber – a term the All Blacks loathe – could have been a turn-off for some viewers, had it not been for the recent snide brawl that broke out between NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia.
NZ Rugby’s refusal to send the All Blacks over Tasman until Sanzaar guaranteed the Springboks and Pumas’ arrival in Australia for the Rugby Championship meant that this test had to be postponed for eight days.
* All Blacks: New Captain Ardie Savea Must Clear Minds of 2019 Perth Loss
* Summary: All Blacks v Wallabies first Bledisloe Cup test
*Live: All Blacks v Australia in Bledisloe IV from Brisbane
That proved to be a major flashpoint between the two rugby entities, with Sanzaar and Wallabies coach Dave Rennie also expressing disapproval of the attitude of an unrepentant NZ Rugby.
Anton Lienert-Brown talks about the weeks on the road for the Al Blacks.
These public skirmishes may not have improved anyone’s reputation for diplomacy, but they should be great for broadcasters with an eye for their content.
While Rennie could use NZ Rugby’s late arrival as a way to set his men on fire, Barrett was adamant that the All Blacks wouldn’t dive into that playbook.
“They (the Wallabies) may use it as motivation, but we don’t believe in that as players,” Barrett said. “We have our own drivers and focus on this weekend.
“So if they want to lean on that, that’s entirely up to them. We understand it’s going to be a physical, brutal game. As are these exhibition games against Australia. So will expect that.”
The All Blacks, Barrett said, look at this in a more simplistic way.
They want to record a 3-0 series of whitewash. Last year a draw in Wellington, followed by wins in Auckland and Sydney, enabled them to retain the Bledisloe Cup for the 17th season in a row, but suffered a shocking loss in their last game against the old foe in Brisbane.
“Certainly, we are aware of these matches and the number of times we have failed to make a clean sweep after a successful Bledisloe Cup,” acknowledged Barrett.
“But we are participating in the Rugby Championship here and we want to build on that. And that starts on Sunday.”
The first five-eighth Barrett and lock Brodie Retallick have been appointed alternates to new skipper No 8 Ardie Savea. With Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith – both leading the party in the earlier tests while Sam Cane is recovering from surgery – and Richie Mo’unga staying in New Zealand as their partners are expecting babies, the new skipper Savea will have a revamped lineup. lead.
Barrett, with 93 test caps, will be delighted to have the chance to start at number 10 in Mo’unga’s absence; Barrett has stated that he no longer wants to be a fullback and cannot ruin the chance to prove to coach Ian Foster how valuable he can still be in the playmaker’s work.
Barrett has made five test appearances this year, but with only one start against Fiji in Dunedin.
While Foster will have to make changes to the side that defeated the Wallabies 57-22 in Auckland on August 14, the depth of his team and experience means he is much better placed than Rennie to win this.
Rennie will also once again be without first-five James O’Connor due to an injury, meaning he will not play against the All Blacks this year. There’s a chance that veteran Quade Cooper will be named at number 10 and a tasty duel with Barrett will begin.
Barrett said his role as vice captain would not change his approach.
“We are going to do what we normally do, and that is well guided by our actions. And support Ardie. We’re happy for Ardie, actually madly in love with him.”