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What Beauden Barrett's new deal means for Will Jordan and Damian McKenzie

By Ben Smith
Beauden Barrett and Will Jordan of New Zealand celebrate after teammate Aaron Smith (not pictured) scores a try that is later disallowed during the Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and South Africa at Stade de France on October 28, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Re-signing Beauden Barrett will be well worth it for New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks as they look to fill the void left by Richie Mo’unga.

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Once thought to be finished with his international career, Barrett’s new deal until the end of 2027 will see him aim for his fourth Rugby World Cup where he will be 36 years old.

The big question will be whether he is still seen as a fullback or as a No 10 by incoming head coach Scott Robertson.

Despite the physical demands of playing at the back, it stands to reason that Barrett will still be able to play at a high level as a No 15 for at least two more seasons.

Former All Black fullback Ben Smith produced one of his greatest seasons in black at age 33 before being left out of the first-choice side at 34 in 2019.

Granted, he was being used as a right winger then. In his final game against Wales in the bronze final, Smith showed what he could still do with a two try performance.

Barrett is 32 and could still be the All Blacks first-choice fullback until the end of 2025.

There will be many calling for Will Jordan to take over with the 25-year-old entering his prime as an athlete.

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Whilst Jordan is one of the best attacking players on the planet, where he cannot yet match Barrett is in the kicking department.

Many were extremely critical of the volume of kicking Barrett undertook in big games at the Rugby World Cup without recognising the context.

His kicking was a necessity in most cases to relieve pressure from the backfield, returning serve from a position where most of his teammates were offside.

Barrett’s management of messy situations in the backfield is world class, whether with cover tackles or kick coverage. Few can offer better.

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Jordan has a higher kick error rate on the low volume he is required to make as a winger. It’s accuracy in this part of the game that needs to improve.

While Barrett is available, he should still be starting over Jordan for this reason. Until Barrett’s performances decline significantly, it’s not the time to hand over the 15 jersey.

The Crusaders’ flyer is still a guaranteed starter on the right wing and there are many ways to utilise Jordan’s attacking skillset and dangerous running game there.

With Mo’unga departing, there might be temptation to move Barrett back into the No 10 jersey to offer experience to the role.

However, with Barrett comfortably established at the back since his shift there in 2019 it’s time to give Damian McKenzie the role.

McKenzie is a better ball player than Barrett and at 28-years-old has plenty of experience himself since his Test debut in 2016.

During Barrett’s prime years at No 10 they formed a 10-15 combination that was meant to be the foundation of the attack for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Injury to McKenzie foiled that plan and opened the door for Mo’unga, but now they have a chance to rebuild that partnership with the roles reversed.

In Mendoza this year against Argentina we saw McKenzie fire at first five-eighth with three try assists and Barrett had an equally productive day at fullback with a try and try assist himself.

Dan Carter was 33 when he produced his all-time great run to help the All Blacks to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and while Barrett will have a few extra miles on the body, there is no reason why he can’t help do the same in 2027.

Carter battled through longer-term injuries throughout his New Zealand career that Barrett has not, which will prove telling over this final chapter.

The two-time World Rugby Player of the Year is past his prime when it comes to his blistering speed, but that doesn’t mean his value has diminished.

This deal is a big boost for the All Blacks ahead of the next chapter under Scott Robertson.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

58 Comments
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Bob Marler 218 days ago

It means Barrett will most probably play until 2027. Maybe the World Cup even.

k
kelton 218 days ago

Beaudy’s still got some gas in the tank and some scores to settle. Good to see he’s giving himself another shot, I for one think he’s still the best #10 option. Mounga was a bit weak off the T and that proved to be our downfall in the WC.

J
Jonathan 220 days ago

Big fan of WJ, but this article is spot on. BB's kicking isn't perfect, but Jordan's still some way behind. If Jordan can improve in that area, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with at 15. BB is a very good tackler and often a try saver, but WJ is even better. They should bring Dan Carter in to give WJ a training intensive.

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Tom 220 days ago

We all get older…

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Michael 220 days ago

Gee that's all a bit presumptuous isn’t it?

I'd say Beudan has peaked already - we haven't seen his great acceleration of days gone by, what we have seen is his aimless kicking instead.

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tony 221 days ago

Will be great to not have BB playing here .one of reasons why we run round like headless chickens. BB is why we did not see mounga at his brilliant best cause BB and Jodie would try run every move .There were times when mounga was covering fullback cause players were all over the place, we had props locks in the backline.But l guess Foster had a big day in that.The sooner BB is out all blacks selection the better. We do not have to have three Barrett's in the team. Scott is the best by far and should be there.

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tony 221 days ago

BB is passed it,if people still believe he has lots to offer then our back line is in deep trouble still.Since he left Wellington he has never been the same,be surprised if RAZOR hasn't got players in mind ,who are match winners that have class now.There will be a few crusaders in the all blacks because they play as a team and have a game plan ,not just kick kick kick .Our main worry l believe is our inside backs .RAZOR well bring the best out of our team but players passed it or not up to it are only slowing the team down.Hope we don't have another coach that picks players cause he likes them CAN NOT WAIT FOR OUR FIRST TEST. GO RAZOR

P
Pecos 221 days ago

Beaudin Barrett will be a force to be reckoned with under Razor. Will Jordan will be Razor's #15, Beaudie will be #10, much in the same way Sexton was used by Ireland, & more. D-Mac will once again be a bench utility. Narawa, Reece, Telea, Clarke, will headline wing options. Reiko too? Midfield is stacked too. Jordie, ALB, Reiko?, Amua?, Havilli, amongst others. Newbies? The 9s will be interesting. Regardless, the cattle are there, the x factor will be how Razor puts the bits & pieces together to build a mean machine. Exciting times ahead.

j
johnz 221 days ago

Barrett’s deal shouldn’t mean anything for Dmac and Jordan this year. We’re told AB’s won’t be selected from overseas, and as of now Barrett has quit NZR and is contracted to an international employer. Dmac and Jordan have committed to Super Rugby and will slog it out for probably far less money than ‘rules don’t apply to me’ Barrett. What message does it send to those players and the Perofettas, Sullivans, Burkes etc if BB walks straight back into the AB team demanding a spot? He should have to earn it back on form, in NZ - those are the rules we are led to believe. Judging by the way he has played the last few years, he would struggle to do that on merit.

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Andrew 221 days ago

Barretts kicking game is the most dire of what is a terrible waekness in the NZ game. DMac is far superior and Shooter even better. Im tired of our line kicks on penalties and kickoff receipt exits barely making 10 m like a league kick, esp when we see the likes of Sexton and Ntamack peeling off 40 to 50 m with ease.

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