Versatile Jordie Barrett is likely to play at centre again for Hurricanes
Even his Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd remains unsure about Jordie Barrett's best position on the rugby field.
More so after last Saturday's cool-headed performance at centre in the 31-22 win over the Crusaders, which will likely see Barrett partner Ngani Laumape in midfield again in Friday's Super Rugby quarterfinal against the Brumbies in Canberra.
Boyd confirmed regular No 13 Vince Aso would miss a second successive Hurricanes match with a groin injury, and he wasn't on the plane when the team departed for Canberra on Tuesday. The competition's leading tryscorer with 14 - alongside Laumape - remains a chance of playing the semifinal if the Hurricanes can beat the Brumbies. "We're reasonably optimistic he's on the mend," Boyd said of Aso.
But for now that's not causing Boyd too much worry given the immense skill, versatility and calmness of the younger Barrett.
"I thought he had a complete skill set to be a 15, or very close to it. When I talked to him when he first came in he saw himself as a midfielder who could play fullback. I saw some snippets of his performance in Saturday's game that maybe he could be a midfielder as well," Boyd said.
"He's got a wonderful skill set. He's probably a bit tall for a halfback but I think he could genuinely play somewhere between 10 and 15 and he wouldn't do a bad job."
Speaking of 10, brother Beauden will don that jersey again on Friday after he was a late withdrawal from the Crusaders match due to a viral infection. "He took 48 hours to get over that so he's away," Boyd said of his other star Barrett.
It means the brothers could team up as 10 and 13 in a run-on side for the first time, with the blockbusting Laumape in between.
"Excluding the backyard, where I think they probably started together in midfield a couple of times on the grass, to the best of my knowledge it probably will be [the first time]," deadpanned Boyd, warming to his task.
Boyd names his team on Wednesday, with hooker Dane Coles' presence on the bench the biggest heart-warmer.
After 125 days on the sidelines due to symptoms of concussion suffered on March 18, Coles will likely relieve starting hooker Ricky Riccitelli in the last 20-30 minutes of Friday's match, assuming there's no injury before that. After discussions within the team, Boyd said Coles would take over the captaincy from TJ Perenara when he is unleashed from the bench, such is his influence.
"He doesn't like to lose in anything. He's a massive competitor and he's incredibly committed to the Hurricanes and the cause and the jersey. He's just a great guy and brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy, as well as his ability on the field," Boyd said.