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'An absolute weapon': Why Jordie Barrett needs to start at 12

By Finn Morton
Jordie Barrett of New Zealand is tackled during the Autumn International match between Wales and New Zealand All Blacks at the Principality Stadium on November 05, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Former Test lock Ian Jones believes the All Blacks need to start both Beauden and Jordie Barrett after their stellar performances against Wales last weekend.

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While both brothers can rightfully be described as world-class, it appeared as if only one of them could start for the All Blacks after Richie Mo’unga cemented his place at fly-half.

But the pair had the chance to line-up alongside each other against the Wallabies earlier this year, and again at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, as Jordie shifted to inside centre.

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Beauden, who is a two-time World Rugby men’s Player of the Year, showcased his playmaking genius from fullback with a try assist and clever attacking play during the 55-23 win.

As for Jordie, the 25-year-old has well and truly staked his claim for the No. 12 jersey after another standout performance where he crossed for a double and made 11 tackles.

Speaking on SENZ, All Blacks great Ian Jones called Jordie “an absolute weapon” at inside centre, as he praised both brothers for their performances.

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“Beauden Barrett has to start somewhere,” Jones said on SENZ’s The Rugby Run.

“Jordie at 12 is a weapon, an absolute weapon. The guy is six-foot-four, he’s 108, 109 kgs, gets over the gain line.

“Once we get over the gain line, we analyse the game, then we can play. From club rugby to All Black rugby, if you can’t dominate the gain line, if you can’t get go forward ball, if you can’t push the opposition back… the game of rugby is hard.

“We don’t want to make it hard. We want to be able to dominate the gain line, dominate the game.”

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The depth at fullback within New Zealand rugby at the moment is incredible, with the likes of Will Jordan and Damian McKenzie able to cover that role when fit and available.

But Jones said that he’s a “fan” of Beauden at fullback, and has actually preferred the 31-year-old playing there as opposed to flyhalf.

“The reason why I like him at 15 is that he can inject himself into the game so he can float around a little bit, he can come up and be a first receiver when he needs to be a first receiver,” he said.

“We saw that wonderful directional play in Jordie Barrett’s try, his second try I think it was, when Beaudy was standing on the right-hand side, sensed an opportunity, moved to the left, took the ball, drew and pass, bang Jordie’s over.

“At 15 he has an option to do that. I just think he’s more involvements in the game at 15.”

Talking through the options for most of the backline, Jones would start Mo’unga at pivot with Anton Lienert-Brown at outside centre.

Jones would have Rieko Ioane on one wing, and Will Jordan on the other if he were available for selection.

“Caleb Clarke could be an impact player but once more, the All Blacks dominated the last 20 minutes of this game, there’s no question about that.

“They allowed Wales back into the game like they allowed Japan back into the game a week before, but they kicked on this week.

“The subs came in, kicked on and put the game to bed easily with 20 minutes to go.”

The All Blacks have two Test matches to play this year before their end-of-year tour comes to an end, with an exciting challenge against Scotland at Murrayfield waiting for them this weekend.

But their last Test of the year is an absolute blockbuster against England at Twickenham.

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