One of the more iconic images of Super Rugby in recent seasons has been that of Beauden Barrett making his darting runs or incisive kicks from first receiver in the vibrant yellow of the Hurricanes jersey.
That will come to an end next season, as the All Blacks’ first-choice fly-half has agreed to move to the Blues, turning down plenty of more lucrative offers from abroad. Barrett has cited the “potential” of the Blues as one of the major reasons for the move and his new contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) will see him stay in the country until at least the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Whilst the move is exciting news for the Blues and their fans, it leaves a gargantuan hole in the Hurricanes’ roster, with only Fletcher Smith and Jackson Garden-Bachop currently competing for the vacated 10 jersey.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the Hurricanes are “in conversations with several offshore options to replace Barrett” and Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee has done nothing to dampen those rumours.
Speaking to the Herald, Lee highlighted the opportunity that replacing Barrett offers.
“We’re very active in the market. Nothing to report – nothing is close – but we are very active in terms of conversations with players and agents assessing our options. We’d like to get that locked away sooner rather than later.
“There’s obviously speculation and when you’ve got quality first fives wherever they are in the world, there’s always going to be suggestions of if that player will go and take over from Beauden Barrett.
“That’s the world we live in – we’re in the market, so people will talk.”
With the likes of Aaron Cruden, Hayden Parker and Lima Sopoaga linked to the franchise, speculation is understandable, although according to the Herald, Lee insists that none of those three players are among the group that the Hurricanes are talking to.
If the Hurricanes are looking for Kiwi or New Zealand-qualified options from overseas, Sopoaga’s Wasps teammates Jimmy Gopperth and Jacob Umaga could also be in the mix, as could French-based fly-halves Colin Slade and Ihaia West. Wharenui Hawera and Matt McGahan could also be on the radar, with the pair having moved across the Tasman to the Brumbies and Reds respectively in recent seasons.
Watch: Steve Hansen defends Beauden Barrett’s penalty kick indiscretion
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