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Jordie Barrett details physical transformation for midfield shift

By Ned Lester
Jordie Barrett at All Blacks training. Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images

2022’s Bledisloe 1 Test saw both David Havili and Quinn Tupaea struck down with injury, leaving fullback Jordie Barrett to slot into the midfield for the first time just 35 minutes into the match. At that point in time, Barrett had mad his interest in the midfield known but coach Ian Foster had also made no secret of his lack of interest in playing him there.

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Fast forward 12 months and Barrett is New Zealand’s premier inside centre, offering the All Blacks attack physicality along with world class distribution skills whether it be by hand or by boot and uncompromising defence.

The transition was almost seamless as Barrett and Rieko Ioane’s games complimented eachother and Joe Schmidt knew just what strings to pull to get the most out of his new attack.

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At 1.96 metres tall, Barrett offered plenty of size for the position but his frame had more to give, and so the 26-year-old went about adding some bulk.

“I think when I came in, I was playing 12 or 13 for Canterbury,” Barrett recalled on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod. “I would have been 88 kilos and now I’m playing at 105, so a bit of a disparity there.

“It’s slowly built, more particularly the last couple of years – or the last year or so since I’ve been playing 12. I was sitting around 99-100 playing fullback but I feel like I just need a little bit more on my frame now. Particularly internationally, you look at the size of the opposition, in particular opposition midfielders around the world there’s some big boys now so you’ve got to be able to carry it.

“It’s a little bit harder in Super Rugby when they’re trying to speed the game up, you back your legs all the time whereas international now they’re not too worried about that, there’s stoppages so you may as well carry an extra couple on your frame.”

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The added mass obvioulsy helps in contact but does have the potential to slow you down and burn through more energy around the park, something Barrett did notice at first.

“A little bit, within reason. But as long as it’s good weight. But look, the faster the game the better for me personally.

“I know it hurts at some stages but that’s where the fit guys create an edge over other people. If you work hard enough on it and you’re lucky enough when you’re younger going to a big fitness space. You want to be able to impact games in a certain way and hen its slowed down I feel like you don’t get that advantage.

“All your skinny fast boys try to gain an advantage that way so it’s great when its sped up and there’s fatigue in the game.”

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Jon 341 days ago

Should be premium size in another couple of years.

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William 1 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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