By Greg Stutchbury
TOKYO (Reuters) – The All Blacks gave the three Barrett brothers the option to return to New Zealand instead of playing their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Ireland following the death of their grandfather, fullback Beauden Barrett said on Thursday.
Their grandfather Ted died last week aged 78 and Beauden said the quarter-final week had been “tough” but the team had rallied behind them.
All three stayed and helped the All Blacks to a 46-14 victory with their father Kevin, who was nicknamed ‘Smiley’ during his playing days, watching in the stands.
“Last week was a tough week for dad and for ourselves so it was awesome to share that moment with him,” fullback Beauden told reporters on Thursday after being named in the team to face England in the semi-final on Saturday.
“The team were awesome around supporting us and always giving us the option to head home if that’s what we needed to do.”
All three Barrett brothers – lock Scott and utility back Jordie – have again been named in the side to face England.
Scott, however, has been selected at blindside flanker for the clash at Yokohama Stadium as coach Steve Hansen bulked up his pack, with fourth lock Patrick Tuipulotu also on the bench.
Scott and Beauden have been sharing a room together for the first time since 2002 and Beauden said his younger brother was obviously focussed on the clash.
“He’s clearly got his rugby head on because the other night he was sleep-talking and was calling out lineout moves,” Beauden said with a grin.
“That was going through his head, that’s for sure.”
The pair, however, did not speak about rugby when they were awake in the room, he said.
“To be fair I haven’t been talking too much footy with him,” Beauden added. “We’re keeping it pretty causal as we like to do.
“And the end of the day, he’s my brother we are in Tokyo so when it’s time to talk rugby it’s usually around the rugby fields or in meetings.
“We don’t like to talk about it all the time.”
Sibling rivalry also did not rear its head in the All Blacks, Beauden said, although backyard cricket games at the family farm were intensely competitive.
Team mate Dane Coles, however, had a different take on the brothers’ competitive streak.
“Jordie’s a psycho because he’s been bullied by Scooter (Scott) and ‘Baz’ (Beauden),” a laughing Coles said.
“Scooter’s the one who’s nice and calm, and Baz is like in-between. He does lose it now and again but he does have that calm karma about him.
“We play a bit of darts in the team room, and Jordie loses the guts if he throws a bad dart.
“He’s a psycho, an absolute psycho.”
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Angus MacSwan)