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Beauden Barrett ruled ineligible for Blues' playoff run

By Ned Lester
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)

Beauden Barrett will not suit up for the Blues in 2024 despite a late push by the injury-plagued Auckland club to bring their star playmaker back early for the Super Rugby Pacific playoffs.

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The news was expected but ultimately confirmed this week by Super Rugby Pacific tournament director Matt Barlow, via the New Zealand publication Stuff.

April 1st is the cut-off date for playoff eligibility in the context of players returning from overseas contracts, meaning Barrett, along with his fellow senior All Blacks returning from short-term Japan contracts, does not meet the criteria.

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The relevant rules are implemented with the aim to protect the “integrity of the competition and ensure fairness for all teams,” Barlow said in his statement issued to Stuff.

“This is in alignment with World Rugby Regulations which precludes the holding of dual contracts.

“SRP teams are permitted to apply for dispensation to the tournament director for a player who has arrived after April 1, but dispensation can only be granted in the event the arriving player has played four regular season matches and signed a contract to play in SRP the following year.

“Beauden Barrett was not able to meet the stipulated requirements for dispensation and as such he has been ruled ineligible for SRP finals 2024.”

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This doesn’t mean Barrett is ineligible for the Blues’ final game of the regular season – a clash with the Chiefs in Auckland – but the purpose of his potential involvement in that match is sure to be eliminated following this confirmation.

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On the other side of that contest is a Chiefs outfit with a recent addition to camp themselves in the form of former All Blacks captain Sam Cane.

While Blues coach Vern Cotter had described his team’s interest in bringing Barrett back as a “you never know” situation, referring to both the eligibility criteria and his squad’s injury status, Chiefs boss Clayton McMillan revealed his camp had taken a more proactive approach to testing the eligibility waters ahead of Cane’s return.

“I don’t know how much to read into that,” McMillan said last week. “Is it just a bit of noise to bring some attention to the Blues or is it legitimate, I’m not too sure. If it’s legitimate, I know there’s a process to be followed, one that we looked into ourselves, about a month ago.”

Cane wasn’t necessarily the target of that query though, with All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick mentioned amongst the Chiefs’ injury troubles in the second row.

“We were told in pretty explicit terms that we may have been able to make a case for it to play round-robin games, but there was no chance he could play finals.”

The Blues relinquished their commanding grasp on the top spot on the Super Rugby Pacific table – and therefore homefield advantage throughout the playoffs – over the weekend with a loss to traditional foes the Crusaders in Christchurch, leaving their regular season finale to determine their potential playoff travel fate.

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Turlough 1 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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