All Blacks star Barrett has admitted that he believes there were better “out and out” fullbacks that he started ahead of last year.
Beauden Barrett has spent most of his international career at fly-half, but since the emergence of Richie Mo’unga the versatile backline player has been mostly used as a full-back.
The 29-year-old started four of New Zealand’s six test matches last year in the 15 shirt, but Barrett told the Stuff that he is determined to play at 10 again for the All Blacks.
Who remembers Beauden Barrett’s 4⃣ try haul against the Wallabies at Eden Park last year? ?
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) April 30, 2019
“I’ve always wanted to be team first [but] I guess this 10-15 thing has been a system selection,” Barrett commented.
“I’ve got no doubt I wasn’t the best out and out No. 15 for the All Blacks, especially with Jordie [Barrett] and Damo (Damian McKenzie) around last year. But the way we wanted to play I could understand that and I bought into that.
“But going forward there’s no hiding from the fact that Damian and Jordie and Will [Jordan] are all playing great rugby. But regardless of that, I’m really enjoying my time playing No 10 here at Suntory.
“It’s given me that burning desire to be better than what I have been before in the All Blacks No. 10 jersey.”
Readjusting to test rugby.
Barrett has been playing his club rugby in Japan this season with Suntory Sungoliath, having taken a one-year sabbatical from his Super Rugby club the Blues.
The New Zealander will be available to line out for his country this year however, as the Japanese Top League season finishes at the end of May, more than a month before the All Blacks are set to play their first match of the year.
The standard of rugby in the Top League is below what Barrett would be accustomed to in Super Rugby. But the two-time World Rugby player of the year had few concerns over his ability to readjust.
— Beauden Barrett (@beaudenbarrett) April 14, 2021
“I’d fully back myself. Obviously we have a two-week quarantine period when we have to maintain fitness levels and then two or three weeks before our first game if we are selected in the All Blacks,” Barrett said.
“There’s a camp thrown in there before that happens. I’m sure that if I’m selected in this squad coming up then through training in an All Black environment, I can get myself up to that test match intensity.
“We’ve been playing a lot of rugby up here. Fitness won’t be an issue.”