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Beauden Barrett admits revenge a motivation against likely QF opponents

By Ian Cameron
Beauden Barrett of the All Blacks looks on during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between New Zealand and Italy at Parc Olympique on September 29, 2023 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

All Blacks stand-off cum fullback Beauden Barrett has admitted the prospect of revenge against potential quarter-final opponents Ireland is part of the mix.

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New Zealand drubbed Uruguay 73-0 victory in Pool A at OL Stadium on Thursday, sealing a Rugby World Cup quarter-final spot for Ian Foster’s side. If France beat Italy tonight in Lille, then the All Blacks will potentially face Ireland in the quarters, provided Andy Farrell’s men can battle past Scotland in Paris tomorrow night.

Ireland beat the All Blacks for the first time on New Zealand soil last year and also won their first-ever series against the men in black, coming away 2-1 winners in what was an unprecedented moment for Irish rugby. It was also – needless to say – an incredibly dark moment in the annals of New Zealand rugby.

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It’s still only theoretical but the revenge carrot is a motivation according to Barrett.

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“We learned a lot during that series [the 2022 series loss to Ireland in New Zealand]. It was a challenging time, some of the most challenging times we’ve faced as an All Black team and personally, losing a series in our backyard. But what we know is the beast that Ireland are and if you allow them to dictate up front and play they want they want to, they are a tough team to stop.

“So if it’s Ireland in the quarter-finals it’s going to be great because there’s a lot of us who are pretty keen to get one up on them and still hurting from what happened last year.”

Ireland did however beat Ireland relatively comfortably in the quarter-final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, so there’s that.

“Yes, there’s memories there. The game’s changed somewhat since that so it’s all on the day. It’s all about who turns up on the day, we learned that in the semi-final last World Cup. You’ve just got to be able to maintain that intensity for three test matches when it comes to the knock-out rugby.

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“It takes a full squad, team effort. Everyone’s got to be fully onboard and every decision from here on in until kick-off is for the benefit of the team and to give ourselves the best shot. Looking to 2015, there was a lot of positives. Each knock-out game was so different to another and it was the same in Japan and Tokyo – the contrast between a dominant performance against Ireland and then a team who were eyeing us for a while in England and stunned us a little. We’re not looking anywhere past the quarter-final, whoever it is because that’s our final at this stage.”

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