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'Fitter players should be rewarded': Barrett weighs in on time wasting

By Ned Lester
Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

All Black star Beauden Barrett is the latest rugby star to weigh in on time-wasting in the modern game after last week’s controversial call by Mathieu Raynal.

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Barrett appeared for press on Monday, alongside longtime halves partner Aaron Smith ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship game, which doubles as the second Bledisloe test.

With time wasting at the tip of every rugby-head’s tongue and newly leaked footage of referee Mathieu Raynal’s match-changing call circling the web, Barrett was inevitably asked about the incident.

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Firstly, he shared his perspective on the call as a kicker.

“You’re always aware of the referee,” Barrett said.

“They’re the ones in charge, so yes, you play the game a little bit, you wait for that warning if you’re trying to run down the clock and then you kick the ball out, or play on, whatever it is.

“Yes, of course, we’re the one with the ball and if the ref asks us to get on with it, we do.”

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For the rugby community, players, as well as referees, how quickly a kicker must ‘get on with it’ is up for interpretation at this point.

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As for Raynal last Thursday, a number of warnings as well as the 40-odd seconds eclipsed by Wallabies fly half Bernard Foley was enough to warrant the professional penalty.

Fans across the globe have been very vocal with their feelings on the call, with many expecting an explanation from the sports governing body.

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Rugby Australia appear to be in that boat as well, having submitted a complaint to World Rugby, who are yet to comment on the call.

Barrett went on to comment on time-wasting from a fan\s perspective.

“I think as a fan, you don’t want stoppages, you want to see a free-flowing game.

“Certainly to play it, I think fitter players should be rewarded by less stoppages and keeping the ball in play and basically a better product of rugby.

The All Blacks iconic brand of running rugby has been under siege recently with new defensive structures disrupting their attack, contestable kicks stripping the game of rhythm and territorial kicking forcing more pressure relieving kicks than attacking opportunities from the Kiwi side.

Cracking down on time-wasting before it adds to the difficulties is a call the All Blacks seem more than happy to support, as is evidenced by Barrett’s final remark on the call.

“That suits me and suits New Zealand Rugby for sure so hopefully we’re trending in the right direction.”

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