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'We have to celebrate': Revenge served for Beauden Barrett in 'brutal' quarter-final

By Ned Lester
Beauden Barrett celebrates the All Blacks win. Photo by David Ramos - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Beauden Barrett silenced doubters in a terrific quarter-final performance against Ireland. Having made no secret of his desire for revenge against the team that bested New Zealand in a three-game series last June, victory tasted extra sweet for the 32-year-old.

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Criticisms of the first five-eighth-turned fullback’s kicking game have been left in the pool stages as Barrett’s game-driving delivered favourable field position and crucial attacking opportunities throughout all 80 minutes of the match.

Named in the 22 jersey, Damian McKenzie, along with halfback replacement Finlay Christie, was forced to watch the dramatic dying moments from the sideline as head coach Ian Foster backed the fitness of his starters to deliver in a tense final quarter.

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Spurred on by the memory and lingering emotion of that famous Steinlager Series defeat, Barrett and the All Blacks delivered a complete performance.

“Absolutely,” Barrett stated on Sky Sport when queried if the win was extra special given last year’s results. “There was plenty of fuel from last year’s home series loss and that really hurt. That’s been driving a lot of us throughout this whole week, if not this year.

“We knew that there’s a quarter-final against either Ireland or South Africa, if we did well in the pool stages and we got our chance tonight.”

Attack

325
Passes
137
173
Ball Carries
120
301m
Post Contact Metres
236m
7
Line Breaks
6

The nature of the match was fierce and a clear display of New Zealand’s growth over the past 15 months since the Steinlager Series. Vastly improved discipline, breakdown accuracy and set piece performance were all tested and withstood the Irish muscle.

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Barrett credited his forwards for their work and the team’s resilient mentality in overcoming any adversity the match threw their way.

“It was brutal, win or go home and we knew what it meant. It showed in the last few seconds, however many phases it took to finally finish that game.

“It’s been a huge week, the preparation has been bone-deep. There was just so much on it.

“A lot of trust and belief will come from this performance and we worked hard for that during the week. What we saw out there in those dying minutes are what we were working hard on during the week, defending multi-phase. They’re a quality team.

“There was some problem-solving to do, our scrum was huge. Not having to put a back on the side of the scrum when we had the ball in hand was great for us, we even got a scrum penalty at one time.

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“Aaron (Smith), when he got yellow carded he said he wasn’t going to be defined by that, he came on and defended his heart out in those dying stages.

“We showed a lot of ticker, a lot of trust in those throughout the whole game to be fair. They’re a quality team and we respected them a lot.”

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On the eve of the match, All Blacks great Sean Fitzpatrick compared the quarter-final to 2019’s semi-final, in which the All Blacks lost and were then sent to play Wales for the Bronze medal.

He observed that the All Blacks were more familiar with the Irish team than they were against England, offering a significant advantage compared to 2019’s shortcoming.

Barrett also reflected on learnings from 2019 after the match, emphasising the importance of celebrating the quarter-final win.

“We have to celebrate tonight and really get around each other and enjoy this win.

“We can’t get on next week’s wave too quick because that’s what we learned last World Cup. We’ve got to build slowly and make sure we bring the intensity this time next week.”

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M
Morne 32 minutes ago
Thanks but no thanks, the All Blacks do not need to copy the Boks

Some further observations: Most Rugby lovers I know agree that the AB’s have been the gold standard for as long as anyone can remember - very few people disagree. The odd time that any other team has some sort of ascendency - there are always those (albeit the minority) NZ supporters that need to remind us of the AB’s glorious gold standard that anyone winning them is only down to a mixture of pure luck or some or other sinister reason or bias from match officials (or indeed the Universe). For reasons mentioned above, any other team with some ascendency over the AB’s (even if it is the 1st time in 100 years) may not receive a pat on the back and a well-done - as they only did so out of pure luck. In my opinion, if the Boks were in the same realm as the AB’s SF opponents - they would have been smashed also - whether with 14 or 13 or 12 players. But remember they were just “lucky”. As a Bok supporter, I will say this team has done our proud - despite losing some games along the way. Like the AB’s, the games the boks lose are 9/10 times one score games - this is a long way from hidings like 57 - 0…And in that we must be proud. Most of these type of articles - especially those focusing on the RWC final rather conveniently leave out any mention of Pieter Steph du Toit, or even Eben Etzebeth who won all their collusions all day long. So to those very very few bad loser AB supporters out there (definitely the minority) - I’ll say what you want to hear - the AB’s are without any doubt the best Rugby brand ever. They have consistently achieved what all other teams can only dream of. And no doubt they will scale those heights again. Now what about allowing others the odd ray of sunlight that comes our way?

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