Beauden Barrett tastes adversity, doesn't like it
It took 20 tests, but finally Beauden Barrett has experienced some All Black adversity.
After 19 victories from his previous 19 tests, Barrett found out the harsh way on Saturday night in Sydney that international sport can sometimes be an unforgiving arena.
He says he has learned a valuable lesson from it too, as the All Blacks had their tilt at an historic winning streak undone by the weather, the Wallabies and the whistler in a frustrating 12-12 stalemate at the Olympic Stadium.
Barrett's contribution was also as brief as it was frustrating. He came on in his now traditional super-sub role in the 63rd minute, was yellow-carded in the 69th for an alleged illegal play at the ball and returned only in time for some late rearguard action to hold out the by then rampant Wallabies
Asked whether his infraction was worth a yellow, Barrett sidestepped beautifully.
"It is what it is," he shrugged. "I got sent off and there's nothing I can do about it now so it's how we bounce back and obviously I'm pretty hungry to put it right this week."
So, what was it like not winning as an All Black for the first time?
"Not very nice," he replied. "I could use worse words. It was a pretty gutting feeling in the changing-room afterwards. It was a big opportunity we let slip, but we're really excited about this week. It's an opportunity to win the Bledisloe, we're hurting from the weekend and Saturday is another big night."
Of course, a bit of adversity can be a good thing. If you learn from it. What was Barrett's chief lesson?
"I guess not getting a yellow-card, not to put myself in that situation," he replied. "It was quite hard to watch from the sideline. It's hard to make a positive impact when you're on the sideline.
"I guess it's when we're on defence, it's about not doing anything silly to try win the ball back."
Barrett admitted it was a fine line all the All Blacks trod as they looked to push the envelope at the tackle - though two yellow cards on Saturday indicated they'd perhaps veered on the wrong side of it.
"It's tough," he added. "You've just got to be disciplined. That's something that let us down at the weekend. No doubt the referee will be watching us this week, and hopefully we don't give him the opportunity to ping us like he did at the weekend."
With Nonu out, who would you like to see paired with Conrad Smith in the All Blacks midfield?