Great Scott the pick of Bar­retts

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

If only the book­ies took bets on who would be the pick of the Bar­rett broth­ers against the French and some­one had gone out on a limb and picked Scott to out­shine flashy backs Beau­den and Jordie.

Be­cause there’s no doubt about it, the big lock was the pick of the bunch, if not the en­tire team, in the 3-0 se­ries win, capped off by what coach Steve Hansen la­belled ‘‘prob­a­bly’’ his best game for the All Blacks.

The 24-year-old was im­mense in the 49-14 romp at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Sta­dium on Satur­day, a match his broth­ers ad­mit­tedly didn’t play a part in, and his 19th test since de­but­ing against Ire­land in 2016.

No­body could be blamed for ru­ing the loss of Brodie Re­tal­lick (chest in­jury) for six weeks in the lead-up to the se­ries but Bar­rett cer­tainly en­sured his ab­sence didn’t sting.

His phys­i­cal­ity has gone up a few notches this sea­son, which was per­fectly high­lighted by a se­ries of bone-rat­tling hits in the third and fi­nal test.

‘‘Prob­a­bly his best game in the jersey, I think,’’ Hansen said in ref­er­ence to Bar­rett. ‘‘He has been work­ing hard on not try­ing to over-think things and just get out there and do it. Tonight he did that re­ally, re­ally well.’’

Bar­rett made a stag­ger­ing 19 tack­les, seven more than the next best All Blacks – fel­low lock Sam White­lock and debu­tant flanker Shan­non Frizell.

There was also a cou­ple of rips, his li­ne­out work was tidy, he car­ried the ball 10 times for 17 me­tres in the tight stuff and, while he threw a poor pass in the open­ing stages, his link work is qual­ity for a sec­ond rower.

‘‘It’s a pretty good feel­ing at the mo­ment, know­ing that I played pretty well and put a huge ef­fort in. I’m pretty happy.’’ Bar­rett said.

Those who have watched the Cru­saders this year won’t be sur­prised by what they saw from the 1.97m lock in the All Blacks’ fi­nal test be­fore the Rugby Cham­pi­onship kicks off in Au­gust.

Af­ter all, he’s been in­stru­men­tal in the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons’ charge to the top of the Su­per Rugby lad­der, more than step­ping up in the ab­sence of Sam White­lock and Luke Ro­mano.

‘‘I’m not too sure. I guess I’m en­joy­ing my rugby,’’ Bar­rett said when asked about the rea­son­ing be­hind his surge in form.

Af­ter three phys­i­cal tests, Bar­rett will get a week off thanks to the Cru­saders’ bye week, en­sur­ing he’ll have a chance to freshen up be­fore they host the High­landers on July 6.

The same goes for Cru­saders team-mate and cen­tre Jack Good­hue, who made his All Blacks de­but. While he missed a tackle on French try scorer Wes­ley Fo­fana, Good­hue didn’t look out of place along­side Sonny Bill Wil­liams at the top level.

‘‘I think it’s rugby and there’s no such thing as the per­fect game. There were a cou­ple of things that if I had my chance again, I would have done dif­fer­ently. Michael Maguire’s young Ki­wis side were taught harsh lessons about in­ter­na­tional foot­ball by Eng­land yes­ter­day.

But now that he has seen what he has got to work with, the Aus­tralian coach is even more con­fi­dent of get­ting the na­tional team back on track.

The his­tory books will show Eng­land were com­fort­able win­ners in rugby league’s first Den­ver ex­pe­ri­ence as they won 36-18 in front about 20,000 peo­ple at Mile High Sta­dium.

The sec­ond half wasn’t pretty as a Ki­wis side that in­cluded seven debu­tants wilted in the face of an English on­slaught in the 30 de­grees cel­sius heat.

But with so many stars watch­ing back in New Zealand, Maguire took

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