36 Beau­den Bar­rett [2012-] CAPS 53

NZ Rugby World - - Green Tea Party -

Beau­den Bar­rett still has an enor­mous amount of rugby ahead of him. His legacy is nowhere near built and yet, he’s still man­aged to be an enor­mous in­flu­ence in the last six years.

Bar­rett came into the All Blacks squad in 2012 when he had just turned 21 and was still a rel­a­tively un­known quan­tity.

He was a first-five who had the speed and skills to also play at full­back and, be­cause he pos­sessed such a wide port­fo­lio, he be­came the per­fect man to pick on the bench.

What also strength­ened Bar­rett’s case to play o the bench was his phe­nom­e­nal abil­ity to make an im­pact when he came on.

Be­tween 2013 and 2015, there were in­nu­mer­able tests that were de­cided by the in­flu­ence of Bar­rett.

The most fa­mous was his per­for­mance at El­lis Park in 2013 when he scored a mir­a­cle try with his first touch and then chased back close to 100 me­tres to tackle Willie le Roux. It was an epic game and an epic con­tri­bu­tion from Bar­rett.

There were many oth­ers. He was the master at do­ing some­thing, any­thing, to change the mo­men­tum of the game late in the piece ei­ther from full­back or first-five.

Against Wales in 2014 he pro­duced an amaz­ing chip-chase try that show­cased his pace, aware­ness, agility and skills.

It was en­tirely fit­ting that it was Bar­rett who scored the last try in the 2015 World Cup fi­nal.

That was re­ward for all his cameo e orts and a land­mark mo­ment that would re­mind ev­ery­one of what an in­cred­i­ble in­flu­ence he had been, and it also acted as no­tice that he was ready to play a big­ger role in 2016 fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Daniel Carter.

That op­por­tu­nity duly came when he was able to es­tab­lish him­self at first-five and help the All Blacks win 18 con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries and take their game to in­cred­i­ble lev­els.

Bar­rett fin­ished the 2016 sea­son as World Rugby Player of the Year – an ac­knowl­edge­ment that he had be­come the most in­flu­en­tial player on the planet.

“I guess it was the con­fi­dence I got from the chance to drive the team,” Bar­rett says. “Steve [Hansen] and Fozzy [Ian Fos­ter] be­lieved in me, which cer­tainly helped. On the field, I just tried not to over­think things. I take a laid-back ap­proach to a lot of things in life and, at the end of the day, rugby’s just a game. If you over­think things, you end up do­ing things with­out the right rea­sons in mind.

“The great thing about this team is that we’re not con­ser­va­tive. We’re en­cour­aged to put our­selves un­der pres­sure and de­liver plays. It’s great.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.