The former Hurricanes first five was building a career as one of the club’s all-time greats, perhaps their best ever player, before leaving to take up an irresistible deal with the Blues.
Despite their individual feats, legends Ma’a Nonu, Jerry Collins, Tana Umaga and Christian Cullen all failed to bring a championship to the club. Beauden Barrett was integral in securing the inaugural Super Rugby title in 2016, and became the face of the franchise.
There was no player more central to the Hurricanes team than Barrett, so his sudden departure at the peak of his career to another New Zealand Super Rugby club was an understandably emotional split.
The Hurricanes’ fans in attendance at Sky Stadium welcomed Barrett in typical fashion, and would not stop booing anytime their former hero touched the ball and the boos intensified as Barrett took over the kicking duties late in the second half.
This expected response did not go down well with overseas fans, who lambasted the Wellington crowd for their efforts calling them ’embarrassing’ and ‘pathetic’. The anti-boo brigade lead the charge on Twitter calling for the booing to stop.
Hey Canes 'fans' in the stadium who are booing Beauden every time he gets the ball: please stop. You're embarrassing yourselves. When he's back in an ABs jersey, you'll be cheering him on. #HURvBLU
— Laurie Winkless (@laurie_winkless) July 18, 2020
Can the crowd stop fucking booing Beauden like that??? There’s no need #HURvBLU
— Lucy Fer (@LucyF3r8) July 18, 2020
Pathetic booing of Beauden Barrett in Wellingtoni. Just saying
— ?? rty.boy ? ? (@rty_boy) July 18, 2020
Stop booing Beauden, Wellington.
— ?Tana Sans Peur ?????? (@JPu02) July 18, 2020
— Richard (@Latho99) July 18, 2020
@Hurricanesrugby fans should grow up. Booing Beauden Barrett is not on!
— Angus (@AngyboyJ) July 18, 2020
My niece is not impressed that they are booing Beauden Barrett.
— Social Isolationist (@LwaziSomya) June 20, 2020
Barrett answered the booing with a brilliant solo try 10 minutes into the game, fittingly his first for the Blues, by slicing straight through the middle of the Hurricanes defence and using his speed to gas the cover defence.
However this did nothing to stop the crowd’s efforts to make the Blues fullback know how they feel.
10min: TRY BLUES – BEAUDEN BARRETT
Would you believe it, it's THAT MAN, who has hit back!
The crowd are booing every time he's touching the ball, and he's just pumped onto a ball and sliced through a gap, sprinted 30 metres to dive in and score!
— Brent Nooroa (@brent_nooroa) July 18, 2020
Not everyone was upset with the crowd’s response, with others seeing the lighter side of the crowd’s behaviour.
Barrett: "Are they booing me, Leon?"
MacDonald: "No sir. They're saying Boo-arrett, Boo-arrett".#HURvBLU
— James Rodbourn (@jrodbourn) July 18, 2020
Hurricanes booing Beauden Barrett is the content I love to hear ???
— Thala Msutu (@ThalaMsutu77) July 18, 2020
— Greg Hirst (@Gregwithoneg) July 18, 2020
Lol, Hurricanes fans are still booing Beauden ???
— ChiWeaponised 5G Bat ?? (@Dangurangu) July 18, 2020
In the end, chants of ‘Jordie, Jordie, Jordie’ rained down for the younger Barrett as he lined up a potential clutch conversion from the sideline to put the Hurricanes up by two with minutes remaining.
The Hurricanes’ fullback answered the calls with a brilliant kick to spark wild celebrations by the home crowd as they went up 29-27.
A rather dubious decision to let the Hurricanes get away with a back peddling scrum on the final play robbed Beauden of a potential long-range penalty goal shot to steal the game back in injury time.
TJ Perenara was able to clear the ball into touch and secure the Hurricanes third straight victory.
Beauden Barrett’s first game back in Wellington ended with a tight loss but it likely won’t be the last time he is booed at the Caketin.
One just has to remember how the New Zealand crowds treated Quade Cooper with the boos lasting years before they died out after the infamous knee on Richie McCaw in a Brisbane Bledisloe Cup match.
If that is anything to go by, Beauden will have to get used to rough receptions in New Zealand’s capital.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now