NZ Herald

In 2020, the Hurricanes want to prevent Jordie Barrett from becoming a victim of his versatility.

With the departure of older brother Beauden during the off-season, there have been suggestions that Barrett would be a surprise choice to don the Hurricanes No 10 jersey.

Having lined up on the wing, at fullback and in the midfield for the Hurricanes last season, Barrett has been an asset for the team in his short tenure. Now, he’s shown there’s another string to his bow, having lined up for the All Blacks in the No 10 jersey during the World Cup.

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But while it’s all well and good to rely on his ability to cover anywhere in the back line, the Hurricanes want to put their young star in the best position to stake his claim to a starting role in the national side.

“We want to give Jordie every chance to be the 15 he is and to push to be the All Blacks 15,” Hurricanes assistant coach Jason Holland said.

“That’s where we see him at the moment but it’s encouraging to know that after we’ve seen him with the All Blacks that he can do a really solid job at 10 if needed. We’ve got three other guys there who we think will really front up for us, but it’s good to know Jordie and even Chase Tiatia can do a job at 10 as well.

“We want to try narrow that down for him so he’s not thrown around between too many positions this year. So he’ll play predominantly at 15, but we’ll see what happens.”

The Hurricanes have welcomed back James Marshall from a stint in Japan this season, with the 30-year-old joining young duo Fletcher Smith (24) and Jackson Garden-Bachop (25) in the contest for the No 10 jersey.

Garden-Bachop has played for the Hurricanes over the past two seasons, while Smith joined in 2019.

Holland said while Marshall was the veteran of the trio, he was every chance of playing his way into the starting role come round one.

“He obviously does mentor and provides some great crack around the environment because he’s a bit of a lunatic with a great sense of humour, but he wants to be in the starting Hurricanes side and the opportunity is there for him.

“What we’ve learnt is you’ve got to give guys a run of games. While there will be competition, it’s not going to be one in one out. We want to give the guys two or three-game runs so we’ll be using the preseason like that.”

The Hurricanes had looked offshore for a replacement for the elder of the Barrett brothers, who joined the Blues after more than 100 appearances with the Wellington club.

With faith in the players they already had on the books, the hope was they would find a player who would fight into the team as opposed to signing a player in a panic to fill a role.

“We had a couple of little conversations with a couple of guys but in the end we needed to be convinced that someone would come and be there for the right reasons,” Holland said. “Nothing really panned out there, but we’re really happy with what we’ve got.”

This article first appeared on the NZ Herald and is re-published with permission here.

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