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Why the All Blacks ‘need to take’ Beauden Barrett to Rugby World Cup

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Former Test halfback Justin Marshall believes the All Blacks “need to take” under-fire playmaker Beauden Barrett to this year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

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Questions have been asked of Barrett during this season’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign with the Blues, with his form dropping to an uncharacteristically poor standard during some matches.

At the same time, Chiefs playmaker Damian McKenzie is arguably in the form of his life after returning to New Zealand following a sabbatical in Japan.

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Not too long ago, the idea that Beauden Barrett would miss out on the All Blacks’ World Cup squad seemed nigh on impossible – but times have changed.

Rugby is a form driven business, and New Zealanders want the best of the best wearing the coveted black jersey in the pursuit of rugby immortality in France.

But if rugby fans consider who the best is, then really, “there’s no one else” – Barrett is a must for the All Blacks.

Former All Black Justin Marshall thinks that Barrett should go to this year’s World Cup alongside incumbent Richie Mo’unga and the in-form Damian McKenzie.

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“I think (he has to be selected) probably because you need to take at least three 10s,” Marshall told SENZ’s The Rugby Run.

“One of those will probably be, I would imagine, someone like Damian McKenzie who can play 10 and 15 because that gives you the ability to have an X-factor player, even though I’m very adamant about them getting the right jersey on.

“I think he’s one of the only unique situations of a guy that can just adapt from week to week and play that position at the highest quality.

“I simply also feel that when you look across the board, there’s no one else… ultimately you need a guy like Beauden Barrett in the team.”

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As the old sports adage goes, form is temporary but class is permanent. This is Beauden Barrett we’re talking about.

When his playing days are over, and a new generation of All Blacks are lighting it up on the international stage, Barrett will be considered one of the greatest 10s in this history of Test rugby.

The flyhalf scored a famous try in the 2015 World Cup final against rivals Australia, and was later crowned World Rugby’s Player of the Year on two occasions.

Only two other players – All Blacks legends Dan Carter and Richie McCaw – have been named the world’s best on more than one occasion.

If Richie Mo’unga did “fall over” in France and injure himself, then Barrett is the type of player the All Blacks know they can call upon to do a job on the big stage.

“Should Richie Mo’unga fall over, would you trust Damian McKenzie or whoever else you want to pick to go out to guide the team in a Rugby World Cup final when you’ve got a guy that’s been to two World Cup finals before to get the job done?” he added.

“I think you need to have that type of player in your squad because he won’t be phased, daunted, overawed by having to go out there and control the game and get the job done on the day.”

This year’s Rugby World Cup in France is set to get underway in early September when the hosts take on the All Blacks in a crunch Pool A clash in Paris.

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Comments

10 Comments
D
Damian 395 days ago

At this stage, Beaudy is an impact player and can still be extremely effective in the last quarter.

D
Dave 398 days ago

I never get the old "form is temporary but class is permanent" line as to why a player should be picked. Surely class is not a good enough reason to pick a player who is clearly out of form and IMO with the case of BB, protecting himself from further head knocks (fair enough). Should a classy player keep a good, in-form player out of the side? I don't think so.

G
G 398 days ago

No they don't need to take BB...just watch him play now (not in 2017!)

J
Joe 400 days ago

Just think back to 2015, one DC was not having a great year, form, injury just out of sorts. What happened at RWC, absolute premium performance.
Is BB just priming his body and mind for one last show....I hope so

T
Trevor 400 days ago

Nonu was "trusted", BB will be there and like Carter, rise to the occasion. Nuffield said. Class is as Class does.

T
Thomas 400 days ago

I understand what Marshall is saying and he does have a point but BB really is playing horrible rugby atm, it’s painful to watch. Let’s be honest foster will never not pick him so it’s a Moot point.

S
Shaylen 400 days ago

Top class player. Dont even know why this is a debate

E
Emery Ambrose 400 days ago

The BB Book in a few years will be interesting to read, for his take on his career at this time.

I feel like many times over the last couple of seasons with the Blues there have been many games where he doesn't look to have a plan or is he going against the plan. MacDonald never seems to stand him down though, for not playing well enough or following the game plan.
MacDonald after this weekend said he thought they kicked too much, lead by Barrett of course, wouldn't this warrant a stern warning, maybe take him off at the 50 min mark? Drop him to FB or wing?

I feel like he wasted what he could in the 1st half against the crusaders by kicking, the last 20 mins is what he is capable of with running.
Is it a MacDonald game plan that is hindering or BB selfishness?

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