WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Lock Scott Barrett has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Canterbury Crusaders until the 2023 Rugby World Cup in a boost for new All Blacks coach Ian Foster as he looks ahead to the next global showpiece.

The 26-year-old Barrett is one of three brothers in the All Blacks squad along with flyhalf Beauden and utility back Jordie, all of whom went to last year’s World Cup in Japan.

Barrett told reporters of the decision on Tuesday and Foster welcomed the news.

“Scott has already made an outstanding contribution to the team since making his debut back in 2016 and we know the best is yet to come,” Foster said in a NZR statement. “It’s really exciting for the future having him re-signed.”

Foster has inherited an All Blacks team in transition, with several veteran players having moved on or retired following last year’s World Cup.

Depth at lock is a concern as Sam Whitelock is approaching the end of his career, while Brodie Retallick is unavailable until late 2021 having signed a contract allowing him a two-year playing sabbatical in Japan.

Barrett and Auckland Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu are the only other locks playing top-class rugby within New Zealand with All Blacks test experience.

Barrett returned to training for the Crusaders on Monday as they prepared for the launch of a 10-week domestic competition involving New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams on June 13.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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