Scott Barrett has heaped praise on stand-in All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock for his ability to lead on the field despite not having played for nearly a month.
Whitelock captained the All Blacks in their 52-11 win over France on Saturday night - his first match after being sidelined for three weeks with a head knock he sustained while playing for the Crusaders.
He also played the entire 80 minutes of the match - an effort Barrett says epitomises the character of the lock.
"Having not played for several weeks, and to nut out 80 that’s just what Sam does," he said.
"I think he’s an awesome leader and he leads with his actions around the field... he’s a valuable player and he’s awesome to play alongside."
Whitelock is captaining the side in Kieran Read's stead for the three-Test series while the No.8 continues to recover from back surgery.