Thursday , July 29 2021

Rugby: "I could not attack next" – Beauden Barrett reflects on his All Blacks debut against Ireland

By Gregor Paul in Dublin

It was against Ireland in 2012 that Beauden Barrett made his debut in All Blacks, impressing everyone with his composure and maturity and surprisingly with his defensive contribution.

At that time, Barrett, by his own admission, was not much less a coach. His defense was a weakness. He was a bit passive in the art of bringing the players down below that a striker and so was his supreme ability to hit the games outside the bank around which they restricted him to only six beginnings in the first five between 2012 and 2015.

"It was the highlight of my career," said Barrett of his debut, which reached an almost unthinkable 60-0 impulse in Ireland.

"The first opportunity to use the black t-shirt. I remember going out of the bench as a superman, trying to tackle what I had never done before. I could not approach then. It just gave me a wonderful sense of power."

Looking back now transformation in Barrett has been huge. It does not have the same ability as Owen Farrell of England to make destructive confrontations, but Barrett is one of the best first defensive positions in the world.

He is a great coach now, all the knees and the legs and the good one that defends such critical channel often is not realized completely.

In recent years, Barrett has made endless attempts at saving. Everyone remembers how he pursued Willie le Roux from South Africa and put him on the corner in 2013, but since then he had many more problems.

One of the most significant was the last time the All Blacks were in Dublin. Six or Brien spent six minutes and the Irishman left in a hole at the edge of the 8 Jamie Heaslip ruck.

It was at full speed, almost unstoppable and even Barrett returned to the greatest man and was strong enough not only to overthrow him, but to turn him into the process to prevent the markup test.

These kind of brave, effective and almost dominant approaches are a basic element of Barrett's repertoire these days and, once they are vulnerable, he is now one of the most reliable and consistent advocates of All Blacks.

Beauden Barrett addresses Johnny Sexton during the Lions series of tests last year. Photosport
Beauden Barrett addresses Johnny Sexton during the Lions series of tests last year. Photosport

And this did not happen by chance. Of all the things that Barrett was asked to work in his initial career of All Blacks, the defense was somewhere near the top.

There was a broad faith in his ability to turn an incredible attacking ability, set in a polished tactile game.

All Blacks coaches saw that they had something special and that with time on paper, Barrett would be one of the best first years of history's offensive.

But modern rugby requires that No 10 be willing and able to play without ball as much as with him.

Channel manned by n. No. 10 is the equivalent of the rugby of the Suez Channel, the preferred route of the big ships and they do not deviate if they suspect that they can surpass the top part of a smaller tank.

And if they can do it, the game is over. For this reason, Hansen sat down at Barrett at the beginning of his career and made it clear that all blacks need a defensive rock in the 10th.

"You have to grow that area of ​​your game," says Barrett. "You do not want to be a weak link in this transition zone, otherwise the teams will drive you every strike move.

"It was an area that I had to work and focus on and Steve [Hansen] they made it obvious to me so I worked hard on it. You have to grow up in your body and it was pretty young and I did not feel strong and confident. I think that was also part of it.

"Put me in the game when you are forced to make some clashes from the beginning and bring that space to the right."

Six years after its debut, Barrett is almost irreconcilable as a player and surprises more than just how many tackles he does.

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