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'I was warned': How Beauden Barrett earned himself two black eyes

By Tom Vinicombe
Beauden Barrett. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

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One of the more unusual sights to emerge out of All Blacks training this week was first five-eighth Beauden Barrett sporting two rather sizeable black eyes.

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Barrett, who spent the Super Rugby season playing in Japan, was named on the bench for the All Black’s opening game against Tonga and managed 25 minutes off the bench in the 102-point win.

The 30-year-old left the field looking in good wear but come training on the Tuesday following the match, two noticeable bruises had developed under the playmaker’s eyes. Had Barrett copped a blow against the ‘Ikale Tahi, or was something else to blame?

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As it turns out, the Tongan team weren’t to blame for the bruises at all. Instead, it was some friendly fire on the training pitch that left Barrett looking like he’d emerged from a boxing match.

“Yeah it was [friendly fire],” confirmed Barrett on Thursday after being named in the No 10 jersey to take on Fiji. “I was warned about Ethan Blackadder when he first came into camp and found out about that pretty quick so between him and big man next to me [returning All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick], you’ve got to stay well clear of them at training.”

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has already made comments this year to suggest that Retallick’s team mates best steer clear of the towering second-rower come training.

“I’ve seen Finlay Christie get smacked out of a ruck and do a somersault and I chuckled and said ‘welcome back Brodie’ and that was a non-contact session,” Foster said last week. “That means that Brodie is back, doesn’t it?”

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Blackadder, on the other hand, is new to the All Blacks set-up – but evidently not afraid to get involved with a bit of rough and tumble with his more senior teammates.

“I’ve been very impressed with him since he’s been in here,” Barrett said of the 26-year-old. “For a young guy, he’s on top of his game when it comes to preparation. He asks the right questions and like I said, he’s into everything on the park so it’s great to see.

“[You’ve just] got to stay well clear of those rucks,” he later added. “Especially when I’m trying to get one of [the loose forwards’] jackals, one of their turnovers.”

Barrett will line up at first five on Saturday evening against Fiji and despite the bruises, is confident he’ll be fit and firing for the match.

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“They’re starting to bleed out a bit, and should be good to go on Saturday.”

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'I was warned': How Beauden Barrett earned himself two black eyes

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