Barrett shines at fullback, may get start in Rome

TOBY ROBSON IN EDINBURGH
Last updated 05:00 13/11/2012
Beauden Barrett
Getty Images
BIG IMPRESSION: Beauden Barrett put in a fine performance at fullback after coming off the bench to replace Israel Dagg against Scotland.

Relevant offers

All Blacks

All Blacks prop Joe Moody commits through to next Rugby World Cup 'Bordering on the ridiculous': Hansen says global season can't come soon enough Ireland can beat the All Blacks, lock Iain Henderson says Michael Cheika reveals Wallabies veterans in mix for Bledisloe Cup matches Five things we learned about the All Blacks during the Welsh series New All Black Elliot Dixon says teammates might have 'cracked up' if he had sung national anthem All Blacks coach Steve Hansen continues to back Julian Savea Elliot Dixon and Liam Squire make the step up for All Blacks Beauden Barrett makes most of opportunity at No 10 Lions capable of putting bite on All Blacks in 2017: Gatland

Growing a convincing tour moustache is proving the only difficult thing about being an All Black for Beauden Barrett.

As has been the case throughout his rugby career, the 21-year-old took another challenge in his casual stride when he was tossed the fullback's duties after 24 minutes at Murrayfield yesterday.

Until Israel Dagg came crashing to the Murrayfield turf yesterday, Barrett's most likely course was a late cameo at first five-eighth.

Now he's facing a potential starting role in the No 15 jersey against Italy in Rome this weekend.

Barrett had trained only briefly at fullback in the long buildup to the tour opener.

However, though not flawless, he looked as comfortable, confident and casual as ever during his 56 minutes against the Scots.

It is the second time during his three-test career he has been thrown in the deep on the 24-minute mark, a repeat of his prolonged June debut at first five-eighth against Ireland in Hamilton.

Dagg's injury - he had sore buttocks after leaping for a highball then landing awkwardly - may not prove serious.

He was reportedly walking freely after the test, but it's doubtful the incumbent will be risked against Italy.

Ben Smith and Tamati Ellison are options at fullback, but, presuming Aaron Cruden wears No 10, Barrett could be a more tempting option.

His ability as a second option at first receiver stood out against the Scots and though he pushed one punt too far, he impressed his backs coach Ian Foster.

Barrett's biggest asset may be his temperament.

He seemed nonplussed by the 67,000 strong crowd, saying he'd played on Murrayfield before, for the New Zealand sevens team.

And in typical Barrett fashion he was not stressing about his rugby, relaxed enough to joke his biggest concern was finding some dye to darken up his facial growth.

On a more serious note he said he had learned a lot from the Murrayfield test.

"I've still got a lot to learn back there," Barrett said.

"The positional understanding of when to come down the blind and when to hold, stuff like that, but I'll take a lot from that game when I look at the videos. I'll learn heaps from that.

"I'm pretty easy [about where I play], I'll take whatever I can get, but it was good to have a bit of time and have a good look at my game."

Ironically, he'd learned more about playing pivot than ever after getting a unique view of Dan Carter's masterclass performance.

Ad Feedback

"It's a great place to learn out there at fullback, watching how he runs the ship," Barrett said.

"He made a lot of line breaks and I could really see how he picked the right times to run."

And the admiration was mutual with Carter impressed by his young team-mate's efforts.

"He did extremely well," Carter said.

"He's not all that experienced and the fullback role is different. "For him to play the majority of the game like that, I thought he didn't look out of position at all."

Nor did the new-look midfield of Ellison and Smith.

They were a mixed bag, lacked some physicality and played too much in their own quarter, but were always threatening with ball in hand. 

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content