NZ Herald

Blues star signing Beauden Barrett has been praised for his “understated excellence” in the UK after his performance against the Chiefs last weekend.

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Daily Telegraph rugby writer Charlie Morgan analysed Barrett’s performance during the Blues’ 24-12 victory over the Chiefs, the first time the Auckland side have ever won five straight away games, and concluded that the All Blacks superstar has adapted his game to allow “others to shine”.

“Although his performances from full-back have been devoid of the snaking, speedy breaks we have come to expect, Barrett has been a significant factor,” Morgan wrote.

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“Indeed, the 29 year-old’s understated excellence has allowed others to shine. His intelligent positioning has alleviated danger. His kicking has kept Blues moving forward. Although Barrett has won World Rugby’s player of the year award twice as a fly-half, Otere Black has been a far more prominent playmaker for the Blues.

“By the stage Black went off in the 61st minute on Saturday in Hamilton, he had touched the ball at first-receiver on 13 occasions in phase-play. Barrett had done so twice.”

Perhaps the most shocking stat uncovered in the analysis, however, was the fact that Barrett didn’t throw a pass until the 39th minute, choosing instead to employ his tactical kicking to help give the Blues the territorial advantage.

Morgan believes Barrett will move to first-five (“fly-half”) later in the year, but even if he’s not heavily involved in play, the All Blacks superstar’s impact on the Blues over the first two games has been invaluable.

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“New Zealand head coach Ian Foster may wish to see Barrett at fly-half later on in Super Rugby Aotearoa. He will surely be relaying his thoughts on the matter to MacDonald,” Morgan wrote.

“Barrett’s combination with fly-half Richie Mo’unga for the All Blacks had plenty of promising moments before England beat New Zealand in Japan. Perhaps that game has been a spur for Barrett to sharpen his positioning in the back-field.

“Equally, Barrett and McKenzie have dovetailed nicely as dual receivers with the former wearing 10. Their efforts helped New Zealand win at Twickenham in November 2018.

“Either way, the Blues look like the real deal as they benefit from Barrett’s quietly classy displays.”

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This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and is republished with permission.

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