TODAY |

'My new name is Caleb's dad' – Proud Eroni Clarke reflects on son's journey to All Blacks

Eroni Clarke may not have been on the field on Sunday afternoon, but he was still very much a part of the All Blacks' 27-7 win over the Wallabies thanks to son Caleb's impressive first start in the black jersey.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The former All Black was chuffed to see his son add to the No.11 jersey’s legacy. Source: 1 NEWS

The young wing starred for the All Blacks in front of a packed out Eden Park and while his dad wasn't playing, he was still featured on the stadium's big screen to the delight of the crowd.

For Eroni though, he was happy to play a quieter role.

"The first thought that came to my head [when I was on the big screen] was, 'can we just keep it to the boys please?'" Eroni told 1 NEWS.

"But what was really nice was to hear the crowd and that they got it as well - a father and son."

Before Sunday's match, Eroni said there were plenty of nerves among the family for the 21-year-old's first All Black start after he made a successful debut the week prior off the bench in Wellington.

"I think that's one of those things as a father, that if Caleb has any nerves, you want to take that on yourself so that he can play at his best," the 24-Test former All Black said.

"As a family we got together, we prayed, we wanted him to succeed more than anything else and we were asking God for that help.

"But it was really good. It was a nice build-up, beautiful weather and then getting to the park, what a beautiful occasion and the ground was in good nick as well."

As the match played out, those nerves started to fade away with Caleb carving up the Wallabies' defence at will with his power and speed before setting up a try in the second half with an inspired run through five defenders.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The young winger lost his grandfather earlier this year but said he felt his presence at Eden Park. Source: 1 NEWS

"I was standing up yelling, 'go Caleb, go Caleb'," Clarke said, remembering the special moment.

Along with his pride as a father though, Clarke said he was also happy for his son as a former All Black who was now adding his own story in the fabled No.11 jersey after spending six seasons between 1992 and 1998 doing so himself.

"The desire for him to play well and to serve that jersey well is something, everything as a father, but also too as an All Black as well, is what you want him to be."

Clarke said it's been important throughout his son's career to remind him he's playing his own game, rather than following in the footsteps of his All Black dad.

"One of the things for Caleb, and I as a father and son, was to really take off those expectations of him so that it would help him to express that gift and talent without having to live up to, 'oh, my dad was an All Black and my grandfather was an international rugby player for [Samoa]'.

"And so we're seeing now, my new name is Caleb's dad so he's building and doing really well in making his own way through the sport."

Caleb now heads to Australia with the All Blacks for the series with the Wallabies and Argentina, where he'll look to add to his impressive international rookie season.