Dane Coles' 'p*ssed off' honest reaction to Beauden Barrett's Blues move
It’s not often an All Black switches allegiances within Super Rugby and prior to 2019, it was unheard of for a two-time World Player of the Year to make a move.
Beauden Barrett’s move from the windy capital to the city of sails left the hearts of Wellingtonians scarred. The team’s influential star had brought the city a Super Rugby championship and promised more sparkling success through his sublime play and leadership.
The unexpected announcement of Barrett’s move hit everyone, including his teammates by surprise. Dane Coles had played alongside Barrett for years and was understandably fond of the competitive core that had been established at the Hurricanes.
“I was pissed off to be fair,” Coles told Sky Sport. “He knows that. People are like ‘Do you hate him?’ I don’t hate him. People need to understand we’ve played over 100 games together. We wanted to keep these people together and that’s just sport, you care about your mate and you want to play with your mate.
“I was gutted, he knew that but it was never personal, it’s just the way I’m wired. I didn’t want him to go. No way. Baz (Barrett) is a legend, he’s a legend of our ‘Canes club.
“When you put those feelings aside and you can see why he moved, it was for family reasons, it was to move for his wife, I completely understand. And our relationship has not deteriorated because he plays for the Blues.
“But we were all gutted, people were lying if they didn’t say they’re bloody pissed off.
“We were in the All Black environment and when I’d see him I’d walk the other way. Like ‘I’m not ready to talk to you Baz’. Once we cleared the air it was sweet as.”
Coles had a ry grin and a chuckle revisiting the story. The two players have since concluded their Super Rugby careers, with Coles’ Hurricanes eliminated by the Brumbies in the quarter-final and Barrett’s Blues dismantled by the Crusaders in the semi-final.
While an uneasy point of the past, Barrett’s move may well provide a glimpse at the future of Super Rugby. Once the competition’s commission is established, innovations could see a more fluid player market and a change to eligibility laws could pave the way for All Blacks representing Australian or Pasifika teams.