With his head bruised after suffering a crash in the loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington the previous week, Beauden Barrett felt the rigor of the kiwi derby against the Chiefs. The worst came five minutes from the end of the game, with a ruck cleanup where he received a blow to the ribs. When asked if he would be in a position to make the trip to Dunedin for the next game, the back, knowing full well that the answer was not to show weaknesses, he said ironically: “It depends if I talk to Dad or not.”
In his first appearance in the Blues’ 10th jersey, and indeed his first time as a driver on any team for nearly a year, Barrett showed off his flashes that make him a different player in his preferred position when he took a flat ball and challenged the tackle line. He also kicked three conversions, two on the sideline.
“I really enjoyed being able to have more contact with the ball and handle the plays,” Barrett said of his change from fullback to opening, adding: “We didn’t get the game flow we wanted and we didn’t do it well enough when we had opportunities to attack. ” If his physical condition allows it, it would not be unreasonable for him to play the opening game the next day against Highlanders.
The one who will have the decision will be Leon MacDonald. The Blues coach said on the matter: “We were dangerous when we were able to build phases. Barrett looks a little sore from being hit hard in the chest so I hope he is fine but he must first be fit for the effort he did over the weekend. “
Given that Dan Carter is expected to make his Blues debut against Highlanders, and Otere Black is in for a bump in the neck, there is a shortage of game creators so MacDonald has plenty of options.