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'We just couldn't not have him on the park': Another Barrett excelling in a different position

By Ned Lester
Beauden, Scott and Jordie Barrett during the national anthems. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

All Blacks forwards coach Jason Ryan nearly burnt through all available adjectives when explaining Scott Barrett’s selection at blindside flanker for Saturday’s Twickenham test.

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Primarily used at lock, Barrett’s excursions in the six jersey have left a lasting impression on his coaches, so much so that the middle Barrett brother has won the starting role over tough competition in Shannon Frizzel and Akira Ioane.

Selection for the final and most highly anticipated game of the All Blacks’ 2022 Northern Tour is no mean feat, but as Jason Ryan reported on The Platform, Barrett’s recent form has been too hot to sideline.

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“Scott Barrett comes in at six because he’s been just phenomenal in his ball carrying and his work rate,” Ryan said. “We just couldn’t not have him on the park.

“The test matches are won in big physical encounters and Scott Barrett is an unbelievable athlete; he’s powerful, he’s unbelievably tough and he just has to be in the pack. It’s quite simple.

Barrett started the All Blacks’ last test against England at blindside flanker, in a game many kiwi fans would rather forget as the New Zealand side were thoroughly dismantled at the hands 0f Eddie Jones’ men and consequently forced to watch the World Cup final from their hotel.

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While physicality played a significant role in that last match, Ryan was confident his selected loose forwards trio had the all-round game to match the English and Barrett’s many talents were key in that.

“I think it’s a mixture of everything. He’s got (an) unbelievable lineout skillset, obviously with how he jumps and not only what he (does) around our mauling, both attack and defence but he’s also got really good lineout knowledge, so he’s really good on formation and lineout defence.

“So we believe that (will be) instrumental in against an England side that have got some good variation in their lineout platforms.

“Along with that, I guess it was important that, you know, we really want to start Guzzler (Brodie Retallick) for his 100th test, alongside Sam (Whitelock), so we needed the best we’ve got and the most experienced pack that we could pick and we  believe we’ve done that.

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“It’s also very exciting that we can bring someone like Shannon Frizzel and Hoskins (Sotutu) who are really good ball carriers and that’s what we are going to need, and even Soni (Samisoni Taukei’aho) finishing the game, that’s where we need to have real impact because we believe we made some inroads in that Scotland game where our bench was right where it needed to be and that’s what we want from the All Black team, finishing games.”

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