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Ian Foster says Beauden Barrett's 'window' at 10 is now open

By Ben Smith

Trending on RugbyPass

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When the All Blacks new squad was named to travel to Australia, just one first five eighth was on the list after Richie Mo’unga was due to stay home for the arrival of his new baby.

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Head coach Ian Foster explained that the decision wasn’t taken lightly, but the coaching staff had to weigh up taking an extra 10 that may not see much action once Mo’unga does rejoin the squad.

Although Beauden Barrett was the only player named, Foster sees utility Damian McKenzie as the squad’s third option after he played most of the Chiefs season at the position.

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“We’ve always said Damian’s our third 10, so we’ve definitely taken two 10s,” Foster explained.

“We are hopeful that Richie [Mo’unga] can get over sooner than later, and so in the mean time it’s one of those strong dilemmas.

“Do you bring over someone else? And once they come on the plane, they’re with us for 15 weeks without the likelihood of getting a lot of rugby.

“We’ve elected to go with the decision we’ve made, Beauden and Damian.

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“Yes we can use Dave [Havili] or Jordie [Barrett] short-term but if Richie isn’t going to come over for a long period, then clearly we will have to change that decision. Short-term, we are satisfied.”

Since Richie Mo’unga was handed the 10 jersey just before the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Beauden Barrett has had multiple roles to fill. At first, he was tried as a fullback for two seasons before making his intentions clear he wanted to play 10.

After a season at Suntory in the Japan Top League where he was able to resume duties at 10, Barrett has had one opportunity to start in 2021 against Fiji while making the rest of his appearances off the bench.

Foster said that Barrett now has a ‘window’ with Mo’unga out of the picture to press his claims and show what he can do at 10 for the All Blacks again. The All Blacks head coach also believed that his star is in ‘really good form’ despite coming into the squad directly from the Japan Top League.

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“We always knew that Richie was going to miss a couple of tests around this time,” Foster said.

“I was actually really pleased with Beaudy off the bench at Eden Park. He looked to me, like he’s in really good form. He’s training well behind the scenes so it will be nice for him to know there is a window of time for him now.

“He’s been hanging out for an opportunity but what I love about him is he’s been contributing heavily behind the scenes in the role he’s been given.

“In some ways for him, not a lot changes, but clearly he’s going to have a nice little window of time to really get back into the saddle.”

Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie said the omissions of Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga and Sam Whitelock for the Perth test ‘doesn’t change a hell of a lot’ with the world-class depth at the All Blacks disposal on show with their ability to bring in a former two-time World Player of the Year.

“You leave out the players they have and you replace them with other world-class players. Their depth is amazing, and we know that, so it doesn’t change a hell of a lot,” he said.

“He was voted best player in the world a couple years in a row, wasn’t he? He played a lot of 10 at Suntory and he’s played an enormous amount of 10 over a lot of years, and a lot of that is test footy.

“We’ll make no secret of it, you’ve got to be able to shut down their 9 and 10, make it difficult for them to get their game going, so we’ve tried to do that with Richie [Mo’unga] and Aaron [Smith], and it’ll be the same with Beaudy and whoever they play at 9.”

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Ian Foster says Beauden Barrett's 'window' at 10 is now open

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