All Blacks star Beauden Barrett believes there is “no place” in New Zealand rugby for supporters who boo and jeer opposing teams during games.
The former World Rugby Player of the Year found himself on the receiving end of such treatment in Wellington last week when his side, the Blues, took on his previous team the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby Aotearoa for the first time since he switched allegiances.
Barrett was met with a chorus of boos every time he touched the ball in the Sky Stadium and having played for the team for nine years and helped the Hurricanes to their sole Super Rugby title in 2016, he questioned the fans treatment of him during the Blues’ 29-27 loss.
“It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? How much you can do for a franchise and then be received like that”, he told Newstalk ZB.
“I give them the benefit of the doubt, it could have been booing with a smile on their face at the same time; but I see it as booing nonetheless.”
However, Barrett was less forgiving when it came to the issue of New Zealand fans booing on the international stage. All Blacks fans are known for their vocal support of their team and can also turn their voice towards the opposition, especially when they find themselves up against their neighbours and rivals, Australia.
The 29-year-old added that the practice is “poor” and makes him “cringe”.
“I think it’s pretty poor to be fair, I’ve never been a fan of it… when we’ve had Australian teams play in New Zealand at recent times, whenever that’s happened I just cringe.
“There’s no place for that in rugby in New Zealand”.
Barrett returns to action with the Blues on Sunday, this time named at out-half for their clash against the Chiefs at Eden Park.