The Dominion Post

Wallabies ‘told of Barrett move to No 15’

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Former All Blacks assistant coach Mick Byrne predicted to the Wallabies two years ago that Beauden Barrett would play fullback at the World Cup, Dane Haylett-Petty says.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has been experiment­ing with his two first five-eighths, Barrett and Richie Mo’unga this year, with Mo’unga taking the No 10 jersey for the last test, against South Africa on July 27.

Wallabies fullback Haylett-Petty said Byrne had told the Wallabies players the switch was a possibilit­y.

‘‘Interestin­gly enough, two years ago Mick Byrne was saying he thought Barrett would play 15 at the World Cup, which I found surprising,’’ he said in Perth.

‘‘The combinatio­n with Mo’unga, just the two ball players playing both sides of the ruck, both are very good ball players and both are very dangerous.’’

Byrne, who was a part of the All Blacks coaching set up between 2005 and 2015, switched back to the Wallabies in 2016. He was a part of the Wallabies camp during the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

Haylett-Petty said that combinatio­n of two playmakers had big potential.

‘‘I think they probably need to give it a go,’’ Haylett-Petty said. ‘‘You don’t want to be testing it too much – I know they have a big pool game against South Africa.’’

Dane Haylett-Petty says the Wallabies would love to end their 17-year Bledisloe Cup drought this month, but building momentum towards the World Cup is just as important.

The Wallabies haven’t held the Bledisloe Cup since 2002 and will need to post a win in Perth on Saturday night if they are to have any hope of regaining the prized trophy.

But with the Wallabies playing just three more tests before the start of the World Cup in Japan, Haylett-Petty said the back-to-back Bledisloe Cup fixtures against the All Blacks would carry a dual narrative.

‘‘We definitely want to break that [Bledisloe Cup drought],’’ Haylett-Petty said.

‘‘But this year there’s a huge goal at the end of the year as well.

‘‘A big focus for us has been building some momentum. We’ve changed a few things, there’s a lot of competitio­n within the group and everyone is pushing for spots, which is great.

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