Beauden Barrett's top 10 All Blacks tries ahead of 100th test
In doing so, the two-time World Rugby Player of the Year has produced an array of memories in the black jersey, including a World Cup title, nine Bledisloe Cup wins and eight Rugby Championship/Tri Nations triumphs.
Amongst all of that, we have taken it upon ourselves to dig out 10 of Barrett’s best tries from the 37 he has scored in test rugby.
10. June 22, 2013 vs France at Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
More of a sentimental selection to open this list given it was scored in front of his home crowd, but it certainly wasn’t a bad effort by any means. With the Steinlager Series all but secured against France in 2013, the All Blacks were looking to finish emphatically in the dying stages of the third test, and they did so through Barrett, the reserve first-five who latched onto a Ben Smith chip kick and slid over the chalk, much to the delight of the Taranaki faithful.
9. October 19, 2019 vs Ireland at Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo
Many of Barrett’s best and most important tries have come from grubber kicks and toe hacks, and that’s exactly what he did against Ireland in their 2019 World Cup quarter-final clash in Japan. The All Blacks were leading 17-0 when the Irish coughed up a loose offload, which was initially booted ahead by Richie Mo’unga near the halfway line. However, the outright pace of Barrett, who was playing at fullback, was enough to beat his playmaking partner, as well as Jacob Stockdale and Rob Kearney, to edge the All Blacks into a healthy 22-point lead at half-time.
8. June 15, 2013 vs France at AMI Stadium, Christchurch
The week before his try on his home track eight years ago, Barrett scored his first-ever test try, which was eventually awarded IRP Try of the Year. In a sweeping move originating from their own tryline, the All Blacks spread the ball wide to Rene Ranger, who sprinted past the 22 before offloading to Conrad Smith. On his own 10 metre mark, the veteran centre chipped the ball for Aaron Cruden to collect deep inside French territory before dishing a flick pass from the deck into the hands of the supporting Barrett, who had a clear run to the line from 25 metres out and scored under the posts in front of a receptive Christchurch crowd.
7. June 16, 2017 vs Manu Samoa at Eden Park, Auckland
Another example of Barrett’s kicking game, footwork, pace and superb ball control as the All Blacks put Manu Samoa to the sword in a warm-up fixture ahead of their British and Irish Lions series. A turnover by Samoan midfielder Kieron Fonotia was scooped up by Ben Smith, who charged upfield from his five-metre mark. Some slick offloading between Smith, Aaron Smith and Sonny Bill Williams took play up to halfway before the latter’s offload fell at the boots of Barrett. The recently-crowned World Rugby Player of the Year then had the pace, awareness and timing to tap the ball along the turf and skid over for one of two tries as part of a 24-point haul in a 78-0 thumping at Eden Park.
6. November 22, 2014 vs Wales at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
In just his fifth test start at first-five, Barrett helped the All Blacks finish off their 2014 campaign with a 34-16 win over Wales in Cardiff, the venue of this weekend’s milestone fixture, and he did so in impressive fashion with two tries and 15 points to his name. His first try was a superbly taken one as the All Blacks attacked down the blindside when Aaron Smith found Barrett on the touchline with skip pass out wide. Confronted by his opposite Dan Biggar, Barrett hoisted a chip kick which Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny looked to have covered until the ball bounced right back into the clutches of the chasing Barrett, who cantered in behind the posts.
5. September 24, 2015 vs Namibia at London Stadium, London
Handed a rare starting role at first-five in New Zealand’s 2015 World Cup pool clash against African minnows Namibia, Barrett conjured up a piece of individual brilliance that encapsulated his vision and speed. Winning the ball from a lineout near the halfway mark, TJ Perenara fed Barrett the ball at pace, and he broke the line after shrugging off a tackle attempt by Namibian flanker Jacques Burger, who was by no means a defensive slouch. With 50 metres to the tryline, Barrett beat the two covering defenders who tried to shut him down from both sides of the park to score under the sticks at London Stadium.
4. August 26, 2017 vs Wallabies at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
One of the best test match played on Kiwi soil in the modern era, the All Blacks fought back from 17-0 deficit in the opening 15 minutes to hold a 28-22 lead with 10 minutes left to play. That was until Bernard Foley converted a Kurtley Beale try three minutes from full-time as the Wallabies seemed destined to keep their Bledisloe Cup hopes alive at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Nobody told Barrett that, though, as he struck the killer blow from the ensuing restart after the All Blacks won the ball back and built their way up the park. A tip pass by Scott Barrett put Kieran Read into a gaping hole, and some stellar interlinking play between the captain and TJ Perenara was enough to put the older Barrett brother away for the match-winning try.
3. October 5, 2013 vs Springboks at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
If the 2017 test against the Wallabies in Dunedin was one of the best to be played in New Zealand in recent times, the All Blacks’ 2013 clash against the Springboks in Johannesburg must rank as one of the best ever. Both teams were in the hunt for the Rugby Championship title, with the Springboks needing to take home a bonus point win while also denying the All Blacks a solitary competition point. Those aspirations went down the drain when Barrett broke through the tackles of Jean de Villiers, Morne Steyn, JJ Engelbrecht and Zane Kirchner to go on a scintillating 25-metre run in the 61st minute to give the All Blacks a seven-point buffer. The All Blacks went on to win 38-27 in a quite literally breathtaking match at Ellis Park, but that all could have come under threat had Barrett not backtracked and ankle-tapped Willie le Roux, who looked a certainty to score in the corner after a 60-metre intercept, into touch late in the piece.
2. August 25, 2018 vs Wallabies at Eden Park, Auckland
Undoubtedly Barrett’s best performance in an All Blacks jersey as he took the Wallabies by the scruff of the neck and took them to town by scoring four tries in a 30-point haul to almost single-handedly secure the Bledisloe Cup for another year. The pick of his quartet of tries came in the 62nd minute when he completed his hat-trick with a stunning piece of playmaking brilliance. Hot on attack in the middle of the park, Barrett had men lined up outside of him to punish the Australians on the outside channels, but an audacious dummy fooled Sekope Kepu and Michael Hooper, both of whom rushed out of their defensive line. The eagle-eyed Barrett was quick to realise and pounced on their misread by bursting through the hole they left behind and skipped past Rob Simmons to sprint into the Australian half. Neither Will Genia nor Jack Maddocks could do enough to stop him as he waltzed over the tryline to wow the packed-out Auckland crowd.
1. October 31, 2015 vs Wallabies at Twickenham, London
Without question the most iconic and memorable try that will forever be attached to Barrett’s sparkling legacy. Looking to deny the All Blacks from becoming the first team ever in the history of rugby to clinch back-to-back World Cup titles, the Wallabies were desperately searching for a try in the dying stages of the 2015 final. A knock on by Drew Mitchell thwarted any chance of that happening, though, and a counter-attack instigated by Ben Smith saw him step two Australian defenders deep inside his own half before hacking a kick into the unmanned backfield. A plethora of Wallabies defenders scrambled to cover their tracks, but the pace of Barrett was too much to contain as delicately tapped the ball up to himself and covered himself in glory by scoring New Zealand’s World Cup-sealing try in front of a full house at Twickenham almost six years ago to the day.
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