All Black Beauden Barrett created a stir on social media this weekend after tweeting about how too many on-field water boys were interrupting play during the Premiership clash between Bath and Exeter at the Rec.
The normally reserved Barrett called on the teams to ‘play the game!’ instead of receiving attention at every stoppage.
“Watching the Bath vs Exeter game. Why is there 8 yellow bibs on the field every stoppage?! Play the game!” he tweeted.
Often a quiet user of the social media platform Twitter, Barrett rarely offers his opinion on anything in the game, preferring to maintain a carefully curated persona as is the norm in rugby.
The out-of-the-blue tweet had some users on Twitter looking deeper into why Beauden Barrett was watching Premiership Rugby in the first place.
One user believed Barrett was watching Bath as a precursor to a potential move North, as the club is currently hunting for a marquee flyhalf. After former England international Freddie Burns left the club for Japan, Welsh flyhalf Rhys Preistland has been the club’s number one option at 10.
— Philip Bartlett (@PhiltheBath) March 7, 2021
@LinebreakRugby BB to Bath to replace Lord Preistland confirmed.
— Dan Knight (@Imdanknight) March 6, 2021
As Bath fans cottoned on, they began to reply to Barrett with their recruitment pitches to sway the All Black flyhalf just in case he was actually considering a stint in the Premiership.
What did you make of the rec? I hear their is a vacancy at 10 if you fancy it?
— Henry Bate (@thebathbadger) March 6, 2021
Come over Beauden. I’m sure you could speed Baths game up. Lovely place to live too!
— Rob Jones (@Bobbybathhead) March 6, 2021
Good Morning Beauden (it’s morning here in England) it would be absolutely wonderful if you could make the trip to the Rec when this is over! Happily take you out for some Sunday lunch whilst we sort contract negotiations- you’d live the life of a king here
— Ben Jamin (@BFarnen) March 7, 2021
Why not pay us a visit for a couple of seasons to sort it out? You’d be very welcome…
— Bath Rugby Plug (@bathrugbyplug) March 6, 2021
Barrett is currently in the second year of a two-year sabbatical in Japan where he is playing for Suntory Sungoliath, the first of which was disrupted by Covid cancelling last year’s Top League season.
He won’t appear for the Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa but is expected to return to New Zealand to be available for All Blacks’ selection.
Barrett is still contracted to NZR through to 2023, and has expressed his desire to win back the 10 jersey for the All Blacks. When the Japan deal was made public last year, he reiterated his plan.
“For me it made sense to go next year (to Suntory) and then have two years back with the Blues and hopefully the All Blacks in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup,” Barrett said at the time.
Where Barrett goes after that remains up in the air, and with competition heating up at 10 and 15 for the All Blacks there are no guarantees that he doesn’t leave earlier.
The congested fullback stocks now include Will Jordan, Jordie Barrett and Damian McKenzie while Crusaders dynamo Richie Mo’unga has proved to be the most valuable flyhalf in the country over the last few seasons as part of a champion Crusaders’ side.
Whilst a player of Barrett’s calibre would be expected to remain in the hunt, 2023 is still a long way away and anything can happen so Bath fans shouldn’t lose hope yet.
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