Barrett offer in pipeline or is it a pipe dream?
Rising All Blacks star Beauden Barrett may believe an offer from the Blues is "in the pipeline", but it appears he should not hold his breath waiting for it to materialise.
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan yesterday denied he would be approaching the Hurricanes No 10 to repeat the contractual offer he waved under Barrett's nose last off-season.
Kirwan's battling Blues are playing knockout footy over the last three weeks of the Super Rugby season, needing to roll the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night to keep alive their outside shot at a top-six finish.
Kirwan last season made what many thought was a half-hearted attempt to woo an off-contract Barrett, preferring instead to focus on luring Benji Marshall from rugby league in what was an ill-fated move.
Since then, Barrett has gone from strength to strength as arguably the premier No 10 in the New Zealand game, while Marshall's flirtation with rugby was a disaster as he bailed out of his Blues deal to head back to the NRL.
"We're really happy with Simon [Hickey] and Ihaia [West], so we're going to go internally," Kirwan said yesterday when asked whether he would make an offer to Barrett.
"We're talking to both those guys and hopefully will have results [soon].
"But our focus this week is the Crusaders, and we just want to put all those things aside for a wee bit."
That contrasted with Barrett telling reporters in Wellington: "I think it's [an offer from the Blues] in the pipeline, but we'll deal with that next week."
Kirwan today reiterated that he would not be making a pitch for the 23-year-old Taranaki playmaker, whose elder brother, Kane, is part of the Blues squad.
"No, he's not an option for us; we've gone internal," Kirwan said when asked to explain the discrepancy in viewpoints.
"We've got contracts in front of Ihaia and Simon and we've decided they're the future of our franchise in the short term."
Asked whether Barrett had got the wrong end of the stick by saying he believed an offer from the Blues was imminent, Kirwan said: "Yeah."
For now, everyone is focused on a tight New Zealand conference that sees all five teams still in with a playoff shot with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.
Beyond that, it appears we should not bank on Barrett moving too far from where he is currently playing.