Blues and All Blacks superstar Beauden Barrett has hit out at the behaviour of Wellington rugby fans after the way he was received by the crowd in his return to the home of the Hurricanes franchise last weekend.
After playing nine seasons for the Hurricanes and leading the club to its first and only Super Rugby title in 2016, Barrett returned to Sky Stadium in Blues colours and was greeted by a chorus of booing every time he touched the ball.
Barrett told Newstalk ZB’s D’Arcy Waldegrave that the inhospitable welcome has made him question how much local rugby fans actually appreciated his years as a star of the club.
“It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? How much you can do for a franchise and then be received like that.
“I give them the benefit of the doubt, it could have been booing with a smile on their face at the same time; but I see it as booing nonetheless.”
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Ardie Savea's first pro game back from injury since the World Cup semi last year was off the bench against the Blues. He's played 80 minutes in every one of the Hurricanes' Super Rugby Aotearoa matches since. #rugby #rugbygram #superrugby #superrugbyaotearoa #hurricanesrugby #allblacks #nzrugby
However, Barrett wasn’t the only person to criticise the local response with many onlookers refusing to give them as much credit as Barrett himself.
Barrett went on to say he’s not a fan of booing in any form as part of the spectacle of rugby in New Zealand, making a point of how uncomfortable he has felt when fans have greeted Australian rugby sides with similarly negative cries in the past.
“I think it’s pretty poor to be fair, I’ve never been a fan of it… when we’ve had Australian teams play in New Zealand at recent times, whenever that’s happened I just cringe.
“There’s no place for that in rugby in New Zealand”
When asked if Blues fans are likely to greet him with boos on Sunday afternoon when the side hosts the Chiefs, Barrett had faith in their support.
“I don’t think so, I hope not.”
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