Live updates of the All Blacks team naming for the third Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies on Saturday night.
All Blacks star playmaker Beauden Barrett’s having to endure a different form of pre-match nerves ahead of the third Bledisloe Cup test.
Barrett is in Australia with the All Blacks for the Tri Nations, hastily renamed from the Rugby Championship following the Springboks’ withdrawal, which kicks off on Saturday against the Wallabies in Sydney.
Leaving home, Barrett was forced to wave goodbye to month-old daughter Billie Rose, as well as wife Hannah for five weeks, making for a doubly difficult away trip.
Barrett says being the first time he is leaving behind his daughter, it’s a tough situation.
“I know she’s in great hands with Han doing a fantastic job and the support of her family around her,” Barrett says.
“I guess it just makes me a lot more driven to make it worthwhile in being over here with the team. It’s my reason, my purpose and my why to train hard and do everything for them.
“It is hard but it’s a sacrifice we all had to make.”
While Barrett has set up camp in Australia without his ideal support party, he arrives off the back of an impressive performance in the second Bledisloe Cup test. Returning from an Achilles niggle that kept him out of the opening test, Barrett was one of New Zealand’s best on the field, particularly in broken play.
He says he was thrilled to be back playing in an All Blacks jersey.
“Feeling a lot better than in previous weeks with my little niggle that I’ve been working hard to get on top of. I was really, clearly excited to be out there at Eden Park.
“Great to run the ball in hand and play the game that I love to play.”
Considering he is looking to make the trip worthwhile on the field, an even better Barrett running out for the final two Bledisloe Cup tests and two matches against Argentina is certainly in the question.
“I just have to take it one day at a time and keep growing as a player, keep getting better and not get too far ahead of myself because it is an exciting challenge coming up. At the moment the conditions over here aren’t too great so we could be faced with some wet weather footy,” he said.
Thanks to the most recent restructure of the tournament, Barrett will be home and able to be with his family for Christmas Day.
Two of Barrett’s international teammates have also had recent additions to their families.
In late August halfback TJ Perenara and wife Greer welcomed a daughter, a day after first five Richie Mo’unga and wife Sophie had daughter Billie.
Forwards Ardie Savea and Nepo Laulala are currently away from the team on paternity leave. Savea is set to rejoin the team within the next week, while Laulala’s travel date is unknown at this stage.