As if wearing the No. 10 jersey for New Zealand in the World Cup wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, Jordie Barrett did so on Sunday with his older brother looking over his shoulder.
Rested from the squad following their opening two games, Beauden Barrett was handed the duty of water boy against Namibia and carried the kicking tee for Jordie during the 71-9 win in the Toyko Stadium.
Jordie endured a rocky start as he missed his first two kicks but recovered well to notch over eight conversions as well as a try of his own. He admitted after the game that it was “nice” to have his brother alongside him to keep him positive during those early nervy moments.
“Nice having someone like that on the tee. A lot of what we said was ‘un-game’ related. I was up against it mentally after missing the first two kicks and I have never been charged down before and once I got over that hurdle he told me to keep positive and keep kicking.
“He said a few things I shouldn’t say them on air (laughs).”
On Monday, Beauden spoke about his brother’s performance and said that he tried to keep him calm before the kicks, as they discussed prior to the game.
“I was trying to relax him. That’s the sort of chat I like to hear when someone runs a tee on for me. Just keeping it general and keeping me right in the moment, taking my mind off before I get into my process of goal kicking.
“We spoke about it before the game and I asked him what he wanted from me. He said, ‘keep it pretty casual’. Often you can rush your tempo going into a kick, having had one charged down earlier, but I reminded him to stay nice and slow and keep that same tempo.”
Barrett was quick to praise the performance of his younger brother while he also revealed that his new-found role drew a compliment from Steve Hansen.
“Yes, it was, it was an experience I really enjoyed and I was so proud of him. Once I knew I wasn’t playing,I was stoked to get called up for the waterboy (job). (Coach) Steve (Hansen) said I went really well, so I’ll take that. And Jordie was awesome.”
One of the highlights of the 11-try win was TJ Penenara’s outrageous score on the wing in the final minute of the game.
The 27-year-old was just millimetres from being tackled into touch when he scored the try that began with his break from inside his own 22.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 6, 2019
Barrett says he was “blown away” by the effort which is in contention for the try of the tournament.
“Oh, it was such a great try to watch. You can train each skill when you break it down on its own, but for all of those wonderful skills to come off on one play is very rare and something we all enjoyed watching. We haven’t heard the end of it – and we probably won’t for a while.”
“I was just blown away. I was looking at the big screen. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be a try or not for that reason of never hearing the end of it. But it was a great piece of skill from TJ, firstly breaking the line, his first offload pass, then Webby’s [Brad Weber]. Some great, great skills there reminded me of watching some basketball games.”
New Zealand are currently continuing preparations for their final Pool B game against Italy on Saturday.