Rugby-All Blacks lock Barrett consults psychologists to solve tackling woes


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - Bronze Final - New Zealand v Wales - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - November 1, 2019 New Zealand's Scott Barrett during a lineout REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

(Reuters) - All Blacks lock Scott Barrett said he consulted with sports psychologists to help him get to the bottom of his tackling problems while serving a three-week ban in Super Rugby.

The Canterbury Crusaders captain returned to action in last week's win at the ACT Brumbies following his suspension for a dangerous tackle on Blues prop Alex Hodgman.

Barrett, who was sent off against Australia in 2019 for a similar tackle on captain Michael Hooper, admitted his confidence had taken a knock after the most recent red card.

The hulking 28-year-old spent time with All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka and sports psychologist Ceri Evans, a former New Zealand soccer international, while working with Crusaders assistant coach Tamati Ellison on technique.

"I've sorted a few of my own things out, with tackle technique, building confidence back up ... with something like that you can internalise it, over-analyse things, which I naturally can do," Barrett told New Zealand media in Christchurch.

"Gilbert Enoka and Ceri Evans reached out and I leant on them, naturally. They broke down the issue itself, helped step out any processes, so I don't fall into the foul play trap in future."

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has shifted Barrett to starting blindside flanker for the home match against the Drua at Rugby League Park as the third-placed South Islanders look to build momentum heading into the playoffs.

"This season once or twice, and late last year, I'd get called on by Razor (Robertson) to just slot in at six, so I know what’s ahead and are excited at that," he said.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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