Watch: 'That's just what Sam does' - Scott Barrett applauds captain's 'awesome' efforts after coming back from injury

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.

Barrett said Sam Whitelock leads by his actions around the field. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Ben Smith cracks up after reporter tells him he's old enough to be Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane's dad

He may be nearly old enough to be their dad, but Ben Smith is just enjoying playing in the All Blacks' back three alongside young stars Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett - and he's adamant he's keeping up with them.

Smith, 32, was told by a reporter he was old enough to be a fatherly figure towards Ioane and Barrett, who are both 21.

He admitted it wasn't something he ever thought about.

"I suppose I'm early thirties, so I know I’m getting on a wee bit, but as far as my body goes I’m feeling bloody good and yeah still trying to chase around those young fellas," he said.

Smith was shifted from his usual role at fullback to the wing for the All Blacks' first Test against France with Barrett taking the No.15 jersey - a shift he said he didn't mind.

"To me it doesn’t really worry me if I’m playing on the wing or at fullback.

"I think the way the game's being played now, there's certain times in the game where you end up in a few of those positions anyway.

"So I enjoyed getting out there on the wing, and working alongside Jordie and Rieko to try and do our bit for the team back there was enjoyable."

Smith says despite the age gap, he still keeps up with the "young fellas". Source: 1 NEWS



Watch: Ian Foster slams accusations refs are 'soft' on All Blacks

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster didn't mess around offering his opinion on whether he thought referees had a subconscious bias towards his team.

Foster was questioned today whether he thought the All Blacks recieved a leniency from officials after former top official Rob Debney said the team "gets away with murder" in a piece he wrote for The Times.

Foster was quick to answer.


The controversial claims come after referee Luke Pearce sin-binned French lock Paul Gabrillagues during the All Blacks' 52-11 win on Saturday night but didn't issue a yellow card to either Sam Cane or Ofa Tu'ungafasi for a similar tackle - one that left Remy Grosso with two facial fractures.

But Foster said that one instance doesn't mean there's a universal bias.

"I don’t know where that assertion had come from, but no. You have to ask the referees that, but clearly we don’t think we get any favours from the referees at all," he said.

"They’ve got a tough job but I don’t know a top referee that doesn’t go out there just to ref it the way he sees it.

"I think if you look at penalty counts, yellow cards last year, we were one of the top yellow carded teams in the world last year, so I’m not sure how this 'soft on us' comes into fruition."

Foster did admit he thought Gabrillagues' yellow-card was tough though.

"We thought they were a little bit unlucky with their yellow card – it was one of those marginal ones. Was it up there? Yes it was. Was it significant? Probably not.

"And there is a circumstance around Sam Cane's one, in that he got penalised for the same degree, the question is was it worthy of a yellow card, and I guess between a referee and an independent citing commissioner they’ve said no.

"So we’ve just got to take the emotion out of it."

The assistant coach says 2017 stats prove the team are penalised like everyone else. Source: 1 NEWS