After one of the most impressive individual performances in recent rugby memory, Hurricanes star Jordie Barrett made it clear that his best position is fullback.
Barrett was a clear standout in round five of Super Rugby Aotearoa, scoring all of his side’s points in their crucial win over the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Barrett, who crossed for a hat-trick of tries, also broke the record for most points scored by one player in a Super Rugby Aotearoa match, with his 30-point haul. He broke a record that had only been set the previous weekend when Crusaders pivot Richie Mo’unga scored 28 against the Blues in Auckland.
The 24-year-old was also perfect with his six shots at goal, and he also made a try-saving tackle on Highlanders winger Freedom Vahaakolo in the first-half.
Less than a week after Richie Mo’unga broke his own record, Jordie Barrett has set a new record for the most points in a Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa match. ?
How good was Jordie on Friday night? pic.twitter.com/0p01GpBDCA
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) March 27, 2021
He was dominant at fullback, and almost unsurprisingly, that’s where he wants to play his rugby.
Barrett has played a lot of positions in the backline, including having previously played 10 for the Hurricanes, and on the wing for the All Blacks last year.
As well as suggesting that the last time he might’ve scored a hat-trick was “maybe under-eights”, Barrett made it known that he’s a fullback.
“I’m not keeping any secrets about where I want to play,” Barrett said following the Hurricanes’ win over the Highlanders.
“Everyone knows I want to play 15 and I’m enjoying playing 15 for the Hurricanes, and hopefully we can just keep building on this performance. It’s just the start for us.”
With Simon Hickey also ruled out for the season before round one, out with an ACL injury, the Hurricanes have been put to the test at the first-five slot.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 28, 2021
With regular flyhalf Jackson Garden-Bachop out injured with an Achilles injury, the Hurricanes could’ve looked to Barrett to move into the 10 jersey, but instead looked to Orbyn Leger as the replacement.
But as Hurricanes assistant Cory Jane told media earlier this month, that move “wouldn’t be fair on him.”
“Last year he was the best fullback running around and he’s done some good stuff for us already this year,” Jane said.
Barrett also commented on this potential position switch after the match on Friday.
“As soon as Jacko [Jackson Garden-Bachop] found out his Achilles was no good, Alfie [Jason Holland], he didn’t panic and he told me he was going to keep me at 15 and allow me to continue to try and grow at 15.”
Playing from fullback, one of his best traits watching the match was the leadership that he showed, especially without regular fly-half Garden-Bachop available.
He stepped up as a playmaker to support Leger, with Barrett’s kicking especially eye-catching. His torpedoes looked very tough to bring down, even getting the better of flyhalf Mitch Hunt on one occasion – leading to Barrett’s second try.
“I try and take a little bit of that responsibility off Orbs [Orbyn Leger] just so he can just concentrate on his own game.
“I can try and deliver and pitch-in with team messages and give a bit of direction on the field, just so he can go out there with a clear head and play his game.
“It has been a little bit different, a few different combinations this year but Orbs has been a breath of fresh air. He’s a confident, quiet young boy and he played well tonight.”
For the Hurricanes, getting the win over the Highlanders came at a crucial point in their season, with it being their first win of the year.
“Definitely happy, especially after last week. We needed a response, it’s never good going up 20 points and then making that lead slip.
“It was just nice to translate what we put out during the week onto the park tonight. It wasn’t pretty in the end but we’re just happy with the way we closed it out.
“Things went my way tonight but overall, I’m just stoked we got off the duck egg and got a good performance against the Highlanders tonight.”
The Hurricanes travel to Auckland for another big game against the Blues at Eden Park next Saturday.
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