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Barrett happy to back his captain

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Lynn McConnell     24 Nov 2017     Getty Images

Barrett said he had enjoyed his captaincy experience against the Barbarians but Whitelock had more experience than him in that role and he was happy with his role as a second-in-command because he could focus on running the game.

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It would be different going into the Test without Kieran Read but they were confident in the leaders in the group and the way they had prepared.

"He's obviously a huge loss but Luke Whitelock is a quality player who's played well all year. He's a very mature guy for a 26-year-old, it seems like he's been around for ages and he's trained really well this week too," he said.

While not having been captained by Whitelock, he had shown his ability in that role with the Crusaders. He was aware of his leadership approach in lineout play in partnership with Read in that department.

Fellow first five-eighths Lima Sopoaga said it was 'cool' to see his Super Rugby team-mate No.8 Luke Whitelock getting the opportunity to play as Read's replacement in the Test. He had seen how hard he had been working at the Highlanders which was first-rate.

"It's a credit to him for his perseverance to get to this point and I'm sure you'll see a big performance out of him on Saturday night," he said.

Barrett was ready for a tough battle with Wales
"It's been a great buzz in camp this week. We're all really excited, we're aware of the occasion and how awesome it is to play at the stadium down the road. It's been a positive one," Barrett said.

Wales had changed their game since the World Cup and had become quite expansive and were using the ball more, using the full field and backing their passing game, he said.

"Typically, it's different to what we're used to but I think it's good for the game," he said.

Wales had strengths all over the park and Dan Biggar, his opposite, was a quality player and had been in the mix with the Lions without getting a lot of opportunities but Barrett respected his ability.

Defending their 64-year-old run of success against Wales was not what motivated the All Blacks going into the game.

"What motivates us remains the same each week and we stick to that no matter who we play against," Barrett said.

Sopoaga joked that wing Rieko Ioane now had the nickname Lazarus having come back from the dead.

"He reckons he's got a broken shoulder and is out for six months and next thing you know he's starting the Test match. It must be in his water. Unbelievable," he said.