Pull of 'home' keeps Beauden Barrett at Canes

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2014
STAYING PUT: Beauden Barrett has committed to the Hurricanes for a further two seasons.
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ
STAYING PUT: Beauden Barrett has committed to the Hurricanes for a further two seasons.

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Money is clearly not the be-all and end-all for Beauden Barrett.

If it was the talented 23-year-old first five-eighth would be in Auckland with the Blues next year rather than signing on for another two years with the Hurricanes.

It is understood that the Blues' second tilt in as many years to lure Barrett north included multi-year third party deals worth close to $1 million.

Barrett wasn't talking figures yesterday, but he said his decision to extend his Super Rugby career with the Hurricanes to a fifth year and beyond was about staying with a club that felt like his rugby ''home''.

''Sometimes it comes down to how much is it going to take to make me move, but money's not a huge issue,'' he said after signing on for another two years.

''It comes down to player development and performance on the field. That's where you are going to get your contracts going forward. The development here at the Hurricanes has been awesome the last few years and a huge part of what I've been all about.''

Barrett leaned on father Kevin, a former Hurricane himself, and agent Ashley Smith for advice, but said ultimately his decision came down to what felt right.

''I get pretty sound advice from them, but also you have to follow your heart. Obviously I love the Hurricanes, I love the swirl and it [Wellington] feels sort of like home for me.''

Another big factor was the Hurricanes' young playing roster and the chance to continue his combination with halfback TJ Perenara.

''It's a pretty exciting team, pretty young and mostly homegrown talent. We are keen on sticking together and we have a good family oriented club here, the environment here is pretty good,'' Barrett said.

''It [two years] offers a little more security. It's a bit of a risk signing one-year deals and I also wanted to align myself alongside other players. TJ I think is looking at signing a two-year deal as well and hopefully he can stay. Those are the sort of things we [players] look at.''

A backline of Perenara, Barrett, possibly Ma'a Nonu from the Blues, Conrad Smith, Julian Savea, Cory Jane and either Matt Proctor and Jason Woodward at fullback, shapes as one of the best in Super Rugby.

Barrett indicated he would have likely stayed under outgoing coaches Mark Hammett and Alama Ieremia, but said he was excited about working with his former New Zealand under-20s backs coach Chris Boyd and assistant John Plumtree.

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Despite results not being as good as he would have liked, Barrett believed the team was in a better place than when Hammett took the head coaching role in 2011.

Barrett, Super Rugby's leading points-scorer this season with 209, said he hadn't given up on the Hurricanes reaching the playoffs.

It appears Hammett shares that optimism with today's previously optional training now compulsory for the entire squad.

If the Blues beat the Chiefs and stop them getting two bonus points in the process, and one of the Force or Brumbies do not gain any points, the Hurricanes will qualify in sixth spot.

Barrett said the players expected that would mean flying to Durban on Sunday to play the Sharks.

''I'm not too sure whether to watch or just check the Twitter feed, I'll have to weigh it up but it's going to be pretty nervewracking. We need a couple of things to go our way and it's still a possibility. Fingers crossed."

- The Dominion Post

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