Scott Barrett to captain All Blacks against England as Scott Robertson names first squad

Barett will captain the All Blacks against England (AFP via Getty Images)
Barett will captain the All Blacks against England (AFP via Getty Images)

Scott Barrett will captain the All Blacks against England after new coach Scott Robertson named his first New Zealand squad.

Lock Barrett takes the armband from flanker Sam Cane, who retired from Test rugby after the 2023 World Cup.

New All Blacks boss Robertson coached Barrett at the Crusaders, and that link proved crucial to the powerful lock becoming skipper ahead of Ardie Savea.

Chiefs No 8 Wallace Sititi heads the five-strong uncapped cohort, having forced out his in-form Blues counterpart Hoskins Sotutu, who had widely been tipped for a recall.

Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie will battle it out at fly-half, though either could be deployed at full-back, with Stephen Perofeta the sole out-and-out 15 in the 32-man squad.

England warmed up for their two-Test series against New Zealand by easing past a callow Japan 52-17 in Tokyo on Saturday.

The Red Rose men will move on to New Zealand this week, before facing the All Blacks in Dunedin on July 6 and in Auckland on July 13.

Marcus Smith bossed England’s attacking game against a youthful and limited Japan, running in one of the visitors’ eight tries.

The Harlequins fly-half is now in line to keep his No 10 shirt for the first Test against New Zealand, with head coach Steve Borthwick keen to keep changes to a minimum.

Borthwick has been at pains to settle England’s squad in terms of personnel and selection ever since taking the helm in December 2022, and aims to continue that trend in the coming three weeks.